The future of combat sports could very well be sitting in a Pennsylvania high school freshman class at this very moment.
16-year-old Bo Bassett is one of the hottest names in NCAA wrestling with high school still to complete. The casual fans may not be privy to the name, but the diehards of the community are already speculating what their favorite lineup could look like with the future star in their singlet. Where most grizzled veterans of middle school wrestling would get sick of dozens of questions a week about his future, Bassett can’t seem to get enough of the attention.
“I love it,” Bassett said. “I’m open to anything and I love what I do.”
The lack of attention Bassett has paid his personal life has made it easy for him to enjoy the wrestling spotlight. He’s admittedly left the social calendar behind to focus on becoming the most dominant wrestler he can be, and he’s got both the hardware and the training regimen to prove it.
Day in and day out, his Instagram stories show his 5am or earlier rise. He’s already won a world title in freestyle wrestling, but one look at his social media you’d never know he trained to compete. Bassett has tricked his brain into loving the process as much as getting his hand raised.
“I eat, sleep and drink the fight,” Bassett explained. “Being in the room and wrestling is really fun to me. I have a lot of really good training partners, good coaches that keep it fun and I like being in a hot room just scrapping, that’s what I like.”
As anybody could guess, Bassett is eyeing four NCAA titles, as well as an Olympic run in his future. He’s had quite a bit of BJJ training and just may have something up his sleeve for fight fans in the future.
“My goal is to obviously go to college and get my degree,” Bassett said. “I also have the goal to win four NCAA titles. I think 2028 would be my best year, maybe 2032 Olympic cycle and transition into fighting.”
The son of an early adapter to MMA and the nephew of a Jiu jitsu practitioner, it was only a matter of time before Bassett became a fan of fighting. Little did anybody know that just as much as he would love the fighters he’s grown up with, he’s developed an appreciation for the fighters the OGs grew up with.
“Obviously the wrestling guys like Pico and Nickal who are coming up, but Khabib was the man,” Bassett said. “Obviously McGregor. I love guys like that. That was pretty awesome when he fought Mayweather, the cross match with boxing. one guy I like also, Tito Ortiz back in the day. My dad was always a big fan of those guys, Chuck Liddell and stuff. It was always a lot of fun to watch those guys.”
Despite being a decade down the road, Bassett is already looking at fighting the way he’s looking at wrestling. The fame and the money have nothing to do with it. Bassett is out to be the best. As he’s watching other wrestlers turned fighters take the sport by storm, his background in all things ground game and his abnormally high Fight IQ, Bassett could already add a lot to an established fighter’s training camp. After four NCAA titles, Olympic gold medals, Worlds medals and possibly a BJJ black belt along the way, Bassett aims to claim not one, but two belts in MMA and become the most dominant combat athlete of all-time.
“Why not me? I’m going to dream big,” Bassett said. “I’ve already won a World title in freestyle. I wrestled a Russian in the finals and got the pin so I already know basically what it’s like to be on the top of the world for a moment or two. Obviously, you want to get back there and it’s only going to get harder as you get older but why not me? A lot of work’s got to be put in, but I’ve got the opportunity and I’m going to take full advantage.”
Bassett’s approximate timetable is a mile or two down the road, but if his career plays out the way he and a lot of wrestling fans think it will, it’ll be worth following every step of the way.
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