5 Outstanding Amateur Wrestlers Who Failed To Make An Impact In The UFC

Right now, while he hasn’t even made his octagon debut yet, the decorated amateur wrestler Bo Nickal is one of cfuthe most talked about prospects after landing a contract via Dana WhiteContender series of.

Bo Nickal spoke of a good game, even saying he could beat Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev. However, over the years in the UFC, while some great fighters have made an impact, others have failed.

Only time will tell if Nickal will join the old group, which includes the likes of Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar and Yoel Romeroor this latter group, many of whom have now been forgotten.

With that in mind, here are five highly decorated wrestlers who failed to make an impact in the UFC.


#5. Max Rohskopf – former UFC lightweight

Max Rohskopf only lasted one fight in the octagon before his promotion exit
Max Rohskopf only lasted one fight in the octagon before his promotion exit

One of the most recent amateur wrestlers to struggle with life in the UFC was lightweight prospect Max Rohskopf, who only lasted one fight with the promotion after signing with them on relatively late notice. in 2020.

Rohskopf made a name for himself at North Carolina State, where he was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American. It’s no surprise to see him pass, like so many of his peers had. , to MMA in 2018.

However, although he impressed in his first five fights on the regional circuit, winning all by submission, Rohskopf’s move into the big show probably came a bit too soon for him.

Facing what looked like a beatable opponent in the form of Austin Hubbard, “Rated R” did well in the first round, getting a few kills and beating his foe by a wide margin. In round two, however, he seemed to run out of steam and Hubbard began to take over, landing plenty of strikes that left Rohskopf on wobbly legs.

The fight seemed to be in the balance heading into the third round, but strangely, despite encouragement from his corner, Rohskopf decided to stop on his stool, audibly declaring “I don’t have it”.

“Call him.” “I don’t want to do this anymore!” What happened in Max Rohskopf’s corner as he decided to throw in the towel despite his coach’s protests.#UFCVegas3 https://t.co/ZaGNi4zenq

The strange ending to the fight immediately went viral, and while some observers praised the former wrestler for his willingness to not take an insane amount of damage, it apparently didn’t sit well with Dana White and company, who immediately cut him out of his contract. .

‘Rated R’ has since rebounded with two wins in the Cage Warriors promotion and recently signed a deal with Bellator MMA, so we may not have seen the last of him yet.


#4. Shane Roller – former UFC lightweight

Shane Roller suffered a number of bad losses in the UFC
Shane Roller suffered a number of bad losses in the UFC

Back in 2009, it was no secret that top amateur wrestlers could often achieve massive success in the world of MMA. So at that time a trio of businessmen decided to try a new method to potentially monetize this success.

They formed Team Takedown, with the idea that they would take three top amateur wrestlers, move them into MMA and give them salaries, health benefits and pay their training fees, all in exchange for 50% of their potential income.

The three wrestlers involved ended up in the WEC and eventually the UFC, but while Johnny Hendrick proved to be a huge success, eventually winning welterweight gold, which was not the case for his Team Takedown brothers.

Arguably, of the three team members, the lightweight Shane Roller has had the least success. A three-time NCAA Division I All-American with Oklahoma State University, Roller was already 30 when he joined the WEC, but he was still considered a top prospect.

He went 3-2 in the promotion, with his only two losses to Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis. When he made his octagon debut with a knockout win over Thiago Tavares, it looked like he had hit his stride.

However, three bad losses followed for him, the worst being a genuinely brutal knockout at the hands of Melvin Guillard in the summer of 2011. In all three losses, Roller seemed to offer nothing but his struggle, suggesting he just hadn’t completed his skills since switching to MMA.

While he ended his losing streak in the summer of 2012 by beating John Alessio, a final loss to Jacob Volkmann followed a few months later. With that, his UFC and MMA careers came to an end, making him one of the least successful highly skilled wrestlers to step into the octagon.


#3. Jake Rosholt – former UFC middleweight

Jake Rosholt's wrestling skills didn't translate well to the octagon
Jake Rosholt’s wrestling skills didn’t translate well to the octagon

The third member of Team Takedown also failed to make the same kind of impact as teammate Johny Hendricks. Although he had slightly more success in the octagon than Shane Roller, it’s safe to say that Jake Rosholt also failed to live up to the hype that came with it.

As a collegiate wrestler, Rosholt had been fantastic, winning three NCAA Division I National Championships with Oklahoma State University, making him one of the most credentialed wrestlers of all time.

However, his WEC debut, having beaten four overmatched opponents on the regional stage, was ominous to say the least.

Rosholt eventually stopped Nissen Osterneck after taking him down and grounding him, but he was struggling a lot in the stand-up and didn’t seem comfortable at all.

Three months later, he rejoined the UFC and instantly suffered his first loss, choking out a guillotine from opponent Dan Miller. Essentially, it looked like his submission and stand-up skills were just not up to scratch to compete in the octagon.

Rosholt defeated Chris Leben in his second fight with the promotion in a somewhat impressive performance, but to be fair, “The Crippler” was past his best at that point. When the wrestler then fell to Kendall Grove, who submitted him with a triangle choke in the first round, his octagon career came to a quick end.

Following his departure, Rosholt continued to wrestle on the regional circuit until 2012, but never saw any real success. His younger brother Jared, meanwhile, joined the UFC in 2013 and did well, climbing into the top 10 in the heavyweight division before his departure in 2016.


#2. Kevin Jackson – former UFC middleweight

Kevin Jackson was one of the greatest wrestlers to ever step foot in the octagon
Kevin Jackson was one of the greatest wrestlers to ever step foot in the octagon

Purely based on references, it’s arguable that Kevin Jackson is the greatest wrestler to ever compete in the UFC on more than one occasion.

Jackson won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling in 1992, won four other World Championship and Pan American Games gold medals, and was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American with Louisiana State University and the ‘Iowa State University.

After picking up an MMA victory over longtime veteran John Lober, Jackson entered the UFC in 1997.

It was a time when other monstrous wrestlers such as Mark Coleman, Mark Kerr and Dan Severn had become dominant. So when Jackson won the UFC 14 middleweight tournament, it was hard to believe he wouldn’t be so imposing.

However, when he came up against Frank Shamrock in the promotion’s first middleweight (now light heavyweight) title fight, he wasn’t just beaten, he was embarrassed. Shamrock basically allowed Jackson to knock him down, then grabbed him with an armbar and forced him to punch – all in just 16 seconds.

After following up that loss with another armbar loss to a better-rounded foe in Jerry Bohlander a few months later, his tenure in the octagon was over. It didn’t take him much longer to hang up his gloves.

While Jackson definitely didn’t make it in the octagon, whether it would have been any different had he arrived in another era remains a question mark to this day.


#1. Ben Askren – former UFC welterweight

Despite arriving with a lot of hype, Ben Askren struggled in the octagon
Despite arriving with a lot of hype, Ben Askren struggled in the octagon

Okay, so it would be unfair to suggest that Ben Askrenone of the most credentialed amateur wrestlers to ever don a pair of 4oz gloves, was a complete failure in MMA.

Askren won two NCAA Division I national championships in college days, won a gold medal at the 2005 Pan American Games, and made the U.S. Olympic team in 2008 before moving to MMA in 2009 .

“Funky” won the Bellator MMA welterweight title, defeated truly talented fighters like Douglas Lima and Andrei Koreshkov, and went undefeated for nearly a decade, setting an 18-0 record before joining the UFC.

However, when he arrived on the big show, it’s safe to say things weren’t quite straight forward for him.

After joining the ONE Championship promotion in a much-discussed trade that saw former flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson go the other way, he took on the former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in his debut in the octagon. He was badly injured before recovering to win semi-controversially via a bulldog choke.

Unfortunately, Askren’s next fight saw him face Jorge Masvidal. The fight was over in just five seconds when ‘Gamebred’ knocked him out with a flying knee, setting a promotional record for the fastest knockout in the process.

When he was then overtaken and smothered by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia in his third octagon fight, he decided enough was enough and retired from MMA.

Would ‘Funky’ have had more success in the octagon had he joined the promotion earlier? It’s a good question, but many would say that Askren never really completed his skill set and would have always fought against the best in the world.

Either way, Bo Nickal hopes he doesn’t follow in his footsteps when he makes his octagon debut in the near future.

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