It turns out that Jordan Oliver has been preparing for his MMA debut for almost six years, but he won’t fight for the first time until Friday night at Bellator 298.
As a two-time national champion wrestler and member of the United States Olympic team, Oliver has spent most of his life on the mat while trying to become the best player in the world. But even as he was winning races and adding more and more prizes. in his wrestling resume The now 33-year-old Pennsylvania native never loses sight of his desire to become a fighter.
“It was always the plan,” Oliver told MMA Fighting. [Olympic] team and put yourself in the best position in the world. I was told that I had to join the Olympic team. And this opportunity has come again.
“It’s what I want to do. It’s something I think I’m good at. But it also challenges you. It’s not just wrestling. Wrestling is challenging enough. But now it’s outstanding. There are many different crafts. And I’m a person who likes a challenge. I love to be the best in the world and compete with the best.”
While wrestling was his primary focus, Oliver revealed that he actually started playing MMA long before he signed with the Paramount-owned company that currently serves as his promoter.
in fact He believes that the little things he has learned in MMA are special weapons that have helped him become a better wrestler. which leads to greater success in the senior cycle after college.
“The learning part helped me a lot in 2017 when I started to find success in wrestling. But I stepped aside and trained in MMA,” says Oliver. “It helped me get better at distance and timing. And now we’re transitioning to MMA and we’re not just training.”
At 33, Oliver had a slow start to his fighting career. But he has a rather effective blueprint to follow when it comes to transitioning from wrestling to MMA at a slightly older age.
As you can see, Oliver counts former UFC champion Daniel Cormier as a friend and mentor. After they first met at the state of Oklahoma. Oliver always looked up to Cormier, who also made his MMA debut in his 30s before winning two different weight divisions. and has been honored as a member of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Oliver could not imagine a better path than the one that Cormier had built before him.
“That was my main inspiration,” Oliver said of Cormier. “When I was in Oklahoma, ‘DC’ and I had a great relationship. The person I call Big Brother I watched his first fight. I believe it’s in Tulsa or Oklahoma City and we got to go there, see DC and get to know DC. Someone who always supports me and gives me advice. And he is always in my ear as the eldest brother.
“That’s a lot of inspiration. Watching DC and watching him retire from wrestling in the Olympics. and chasing a UFC gold medal. He loves doing it. He loves competition and that’s what I love to do as well. DC is a big inspiration for me. I look forward to his credentials. but as his friend and little brother I want to be his number one. He placed a blueprint It’s time for me to build on that and do even better things.”
Since so much attention was given to Oliver prior to his Bellator debut, it’s easy to forget that he hasn’t competed professionally yet.
Of course, Oliver wasn’t the first high-profile wrestler to get his attention before he landed a single punch. Look no further than UFC competitor Bo Nickal as a perfect example. But no interest bothered him.
In fact, Oliver said no one would set a higher standard than himself. So he will undoubtedly welcome a target on his back.
“I love expectations,” says Oliver. That’s what I’ve been through my whole life. You learn to operate under it. You’ve learned that pressure is really good for you.
“If there’s a target on my back that’s cool, because now if there’s a target on my back. it will only get bigger My expectations are high because I want to perform. It’s what I always do in battle. I always want to be a crowd favorite. I opened the door to pressure and invite in.”
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