Dan Gable is potentially the biggest legend in the history of wrestling, and had MMA been an option back when he was competing, it’s amazing to think of what he could’ve achieved. He’s known for only having lost one match in his entire career, his final one in college that got him second place in the NCAA Championships after two consecutive wins. He went on to continue to dominate the sport by winning the Pan-American Championships, The World Championships, and an Olympic Gold Medal all in the next two years.
He’s stayed in the sport ever since retiring from competition and has forged a career as the most successful wrestling coach of all time, leading the University of Iowa to an incredible 15 NCAA Team titles where he coached a total of 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, and 12 olympians. He also went on to coach three Olympic teams and six World Championship teams for the United States, cementing his legacy as one of the biggest contributors to the sport of wrestling. He recently sat down with MMAFighting to give his opinions on modern-day wrestlers who decide to make the transition to MMA instead:
“I like what I call lifers, what I call lifers in the sport. I’m a lifer in the sport but it just so happened the opportunity to make money as a participant after the Olympics really wasn’t there until after the Olympics in 1976, they started being able to pay people and have a decent living. I want to keep the good wrestlers in the sport as long as possible and if there’s another avenue that they can work after that, that’s fine as well.
“Because like I said, wrestlers have that feel that you need in a fight. They have that feel that if they are smart, they can make the jump and I’m sure that some of them may be better in mixed martial arts than they were in wrestling and the wrestling will help. You’ve got to kind of analyze each person to see where they need to be and the love of it. Whether you really like which one better. Mixed martial arts may be a little tougher in terms of what is expected out there from the fan and it depends on whether you really want to administer some real pain.”
The below interview with Dan Gable where he discusses wrestlers making the move to MMA, receiving the presidential medal of honor, and more was uploaded by the official YouTube Channel for MMAFighting.