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Cody Chittum’s Appreciation For Dagestani Wrestlers | UFC Fight Pass

There Isn’t A Lot Of Room Left On The Schedules Of NCAA Wrestlers To Cheer For Russian Wrestlers, But Iowa State’s Cody Chittum Comfortably Sits On The Dagestani Hype Train.

Few things are as interesting in the NCAA wrestling world as the debate about Dagestani fighters. But Iowa State’s Cody Chittum can’t resist the wrestling dominance of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev and many more. Needless to say, Chittum is on Team Dagestan.

It's no secret just how competitive American wrestlers are. It’s no secret just how competitive Russian wrestlers are.

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The sport of MMA was dominated at first by wrestlers such as Mark Coleman, Dan Severn, Mark Kerr and others. Fast forward a couple decades and the UFC is a global brand with worldwide appeal. The UFC still has some of the greatest American wrestlers in the game on the come up, but it’s also chock-full of Dagestani fighters running the show on the ground.

The American wrestlers have begun backing their guys stronger than ever before. Cael Sanderson may not have been voicing support for Daniel Cormier a decade ago, but with the Americans trying to take back the reputation as “the most dangerous wrestlers,” you’ll for sure see Myles Martin voice his support for Bo Nickal.

The rivalry doesn’t stem from geographical or political standpoints; it’s “iron sharpens iron” at its finest. American wrestlers back American wrestlers, Russian wrestlers back Russian wrestlers. One American wrestler, however, has no problem saying he’d love to emulate the Dagestani style.

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“I’m a big fan of all those Dagestan guys, where they all train with Islam and how they literally adapt to wrestling and make it their style,” said Iowa State’s Chittum. “They’re making it almost like it’s a street fight; the wrestling aspect, I feel like it helps a lot in the UFC, and I love watching the guys just wrestle the guys down and break them.”

Chittum does clarify that he loves a slugfest as much as the next guy, but watching a fighter drag an opponent into the darkest places possible in the cage is what the sport is all about for him.


Chittum’s far too early prediction is that he’ll eventually find himself in the cage after wrestling and it’s the Dagestani style he’d like to utilize most.


“Five minutes in, ten minutes in, the guys are dead,” Chittum laughed. “Especially when Khabib was fighting. They just beat them in deep waters, and I like watching that. Some people thought it was boring because they’re not just throwing slugs the whole time, and I love watching that, too, but I don’t know.”

Everybody loves a winner. Chittum is one of the few that not only loves the hardware the Dagestanis bring to the table, but the journey, as well. In order to become the most dominant wrestlers with the deepest waters in the sport, you’ve got to train it and live it.

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“I like them a lot because I like how they train, I know how hard they train and I know their lifestyles are way different than all the different guys in the world,” Chittum said. “While people are going out and partying, hanging out after fights, these guys are just going back to their families and training. It’s all serious. In training and out of training they’re still doing the same things, nothing changes. I have respect for that.”

Chittum, however doesn’t just enjoy watching the madness; he tries to live and train the same lifestyle.

Secure enough in his patriotism, Chittum bucks the trend of the “NCAA vs Everybody” mentality and explains how fast he’d jump at the chance to one day make the trip to Makhachkala and mix it up with Khabib, Islam and many more.

“In a heartbeat,” Chittum responded immediately.

There’s a good amount of time between now and when Chittum would be making his MMA debut, but the bat signal is officially out. If any Dagestani wrestlers have interest in getting some work in with an NCAA wrestler eager to learn, look no further than Ames, Iowa.

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