He may be a 3-0 mixed martial artist now, but Oklahoma State still has Jacobe Smith’s heart.
Sure, after graduating from OSU, Smith walked out the door with a degree, injuries and memories, because this is how a collegiate career comes to an end for athletes at most schools. For Smith and the rest of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it ends much differently.
Smith’s venture into MMA means Oklahoma State was always ready to send new training gear. An alum has to catch a football game every now and then and the Cowboys always had him covered. And it sure would be nice to have one of the grittiest squads in the game going into MMA with you when you graduate - how about Kyle Crutchmer and Nick Piccininni?
When they say OSU Wrestling helps set you up for success throughout life, Smith is living proof that they literally mean your wildest dreams can come true.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings ever,” Smith explained. “It’s like you’re mafia, in a sense, and not in a bad way. Knowing you’ve got a family that’s got your back no matter what. If I needed any kind of any gear I could hit up OSU and they’d send me a package. It’s a family thing for me.”
It’s hard to pay the school back for everything they gave him and continue to give him. Even after leaving it all on the mat night in and night out, Smith still feels indebted to the school and plans to continue riding for the Cowboys any way possible.
Years after his final walk off the mat, Smith still calls for watch parties every dual. He never has to twist Crutchmer and Piccininni’s arms to join him, either. It’s possible he’s as invested now as he was when he was donning the singlet himself.
Oklahoma State coach John Smith’s wisdom stems far from perfect double leg timing or takedown defense. While Jacobe Smith is one of the few fighters with wisdom from arguably the greatest wrestler of all-time, one of the biggest impacts Smith had on him has nothing to do with laying hands on another person.
Smith has never, and will never, fear entering the cage mentally unprepared. In championship rounds when both fighters are shot physically, hurting and counting down the seconds, be prepared for him to be able to stay composed and dig deeper.
“As athletic as I am, coming into a fight I don’t really have to use my athleticism too much because all of the skill I was taught from Coach Smith,” Smith explained. “I can be calm and relaxed and precise because of Coach Smith. Under big pressure I can keep myself calm and stay sharp in any condition. I’ll forever be grateful for that. The way he conditioned it into us, it’s like installed in me.”
Smith feels he’s in the last stop he’ll make before graduating to the UFC, and with the grit of OSU in his blood and the wisdom of Coach Smith in his brain, it’s hard to bet against it.
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