Fans watching episodes of UFC Primetime: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks in advance of UFC 167 may have been shocked at welterweight contender Johny Hendricks’ tales of his father driving he and his brother hard, pressuring them to wrestle and waking them up with buckets of ice water. Hendricks’ Team Takedown teammate Jared Rosholt was not offended in the least.
In fact, the heavyweight identified with the Hendricks clan, as Rosholt and his older brother Jake grew up wrestling and it wasn’t exactly their choice.
“Oh, we didn’t have a say in whether or not we were going to wrestle,” Rosholt recounts with a laugh to UFC.com. “My brother was told he was going to wrestle, and then later, I had to do it also. I remember watching Primetime with Johny and thinking, ‘that’s exactly the way it was with us.’”
The Rosholt boys certainly took wrestling far, both wrestling at NCAA Division I powerhouse Oklahoma State. Jared says that despite getting forced into wrestling at an early age, he never burned out on the demanding sport.
“I think when you’re told you’re doing something from an early age, you don’t really think about it and burnout wasn’t an option,” he says. “At first we were forced to go to practice, but eventually it got to the point where I didn’t need to be told to drill or go to practice.”
Following in the footsteps of older brother Jake, who impressed at every level as a wrestling prodigy, wasn’t always easy, but Jared says he’s grateful to have had his brother leading the way.
“There was pressure of having my older brother be Jake Rosholt at first because everyone expected me to do things he did,” he admits.
Once Jared began wrestling at Oklahoma State, his brother had begun training and competing in MMA. The young heavyweight says that it took him a while to start thinking about MMA himself.
“I didn’t think about fighting MMA until I was in college, wrestling,” he says. “My brother was doing well in it and I saw a few fights.”
Even so, after his historic college career at Oklahoma was complete (Jared would become a three-time All-American and the all-time winningest heavyweight in the school’s history) he did not know what he was going to do with his life.
“After school you kind of wonder what comes next. I didn’t really know what I was going to do next professionally, or just with my life,” Jared remembers.
Eventually, his thoughts turned to MMA. Jake, a UFC and WEC vet, encouraged him to start training with him, but only after letting him know just how demanding the sport would be.
“My brother helped me a lot in MMA,” he credits. “I remember him telling me what it would take to do it and how much work it would be to be successful.”
Jared found his older brother’s words to be true enough, though the confidence and ease on the mats during competition honed through a lifetime of wrestling has given him the confidence he needs to succeed. As Jared readies to make his UFC debut this Saturday at the TUF 18 Finale, he explains the confidence that high level wrestlers bring into the cage with them.
“There is nothing like the pressure of those wrestling tournaments,” he remembers. “You might compete on a Friday then again on a Sunday. After competing against anyone on any given day, hundreds of times, you get comfortable with competition. That definitely carries over into MMA.”
There are some differences, however, between MMA and wrestling, and Rosholt respects them as a young up and comer.
“In wrestling you know what it takes so you just have to go hard and show up,” he explains. “You’ve spent your whole life learning wrestling so you know what to do. In MMA, you’re still learning all these different techniques. So you go out there and compete and have to go hard, but there’s so much more involved. I’m still learning.”
Though he admits that he’s a relative novice, Rosholt is confident that his willingness to learn and his athleticism will set him apart in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“I think that I’ll bring an athleticism to the UFC that not many heavyweights have,” he says. “I’m not that big and so I still can move around pretty well. A lot of guys are good in the heavyweight division, and strong, but not many are comfortable moving around a lot or setting a high pace. I think I can do some things that will help me make a statement.”
Jared Rosholt: A New Look Heavyweight
"I think that I’ll bring an athleticism to the UFC that not many heavyweights have." - Jared Rosholt