After shocking the NCAA world by announcing his next move might not be wrestling for five NCAA titles and instead grabbing Olympic gold followed by an MMA belt, fans were confused. But in the face of confusion, it’s hard not to also be excited at the thought of Carter Starocci, one of the most skilled, gritty and brash wrestlers in NCAA history, transitioning to MMA.
With MMA set comfortably, but temporarily in the backseat, how does the gold-driven Nittany Lion see himself stacking up against the current top-billers in the lightweight and welterweight divisions?
“I think I would want to put the wrestlers away early just to show everybody that they’re getting beat by these wrestlers that aren’t even good wrestlers. Give me Colby Covington right away because he’s another piss poor wrestler and his hands are very average. That’s another wrestling match that would be pretty easy.”
“I think Leon Edwards pretty much took the dog out of him, but I think his wrestling is very average, too. His hands seem pretty heavy but he’s not very technical. They kind of run their patterns over and over again, and they’re not new movements, so I think they’re too predictable.”
“Leon Edwards is the champ and I’d take the belt from him if he’s still the champ.”
“I think that’s an easy fight. He’s a guy that wants to just come at you and brawl and come at you with his punches. His wrestling is very poor so I believe I can pick him apart on the feet, and once I decide to grapple and wrestle, that’s when the fight would end. He can’t compete at a high level. You saw his wrestling career when he competed D-1. It was not great. His shot selection, he just closes his eyes and shoots overhands and hopes for the best. I don’t think that would be a competitive fight, to be honest.”
“I believe Michael Chandler All-American-ed once and he took eighth place. I could do that when I was in grade school. That’s a participation medal.”
“Khamzat Chimaev is talking the talk but he’s from Sweden and he thinks he’s this good wrestler but he can’t even make the weight. I think Bo (Nickal) will take care of that.”
There’s still some time between now and when Starocci makes his venture into MMA, but it’s clear he knows what he’s looking for and where he ranks.
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