American Greco wrestling for mma

You hear Joe Rogan say he thinks Greco is the best style of wrestling for mma, and I am not arguing against or agreeing with him. I just wonder if when we see guys like Hendo, Couture and the Law using wrestling in the cage, its more the way they learned to wrestle. All of the Greco guys from the U.S. learned and spent a signifigant portion of their lives wrestling folkstyle, learning leg attacks. During high school they may have entered in cadet and junior greco tournaments, but primarily they spent their time wrestling folkstyle. When we watch them in the cage, you see alot of t.d.'s that aren't legal in Greco, but are set up off the clinch. Randy slammed Gonzaga with a t.d.'s while he had his leg(including the 1 that broke his nose). I am not saying that N. American Greco is superior to the rest of the world, I just think that these guys have a huge advantage being able to clinch, possibly throw upper body or attack the legs. In lots of countries you strart wrestling Greco at a young age, and never learn any leg attacks.

great post.

Folkstyle/freestyle wrestling imo is the best style for mma of any of the arts.

no-gi judo, imo

"In lots of countries you strart wrestling Greco at a young age, and never learn any leg attacks."

Is that true?

"My judo throws are the best throws in the world. All your other throws are for little girls"

  • The Heat

"my wrestling is better than his"



I don't mean to imply I have been all over the world and know that every greco competitor is ignorant to leg attacks, but I do know in the middle east you are usually doing greco or freestyle in your teens, not both.

Ajm1218 is correct

Using Greco in MMA is kinda like what HS wrestlers who train Greco over the summer do. Those high school kids go back in the fall and combine what they learned in greco into setting up moves that you wouldn't see in true greco comp. You're not gunna suplay everyone but your knowledge and skill in upper body control is gunna help you set up firemans, duckunders, armdrags, etc. better then just having folkstyle knowledge.

A guy like Karelin, who only had 1 coach his ENTIRE career, won his first gold medal at age 20, you think he started greco the year before? No way. You think the #1 wrestling country in the world, at the height of the Soviet sports machine has the same coach for freestyle and greco? Those guys start wrestling young, and by the time they hit 14 they primarily stick to one discipline.

The wrestlers that never learn freestyle but do learn Greco to the highest level are few and far between. There may be a few but I've yet to meet any.

Its not that greco kids in other countries never learn or try freestyle, they don't do it long enough to become proficient at both. I can name numerous greco champs from other continents that trained strictly greco through their teen years. I realize there needs to be some process determining what discipline a kid will be better at, teaching them both greco and freestyle. In alot of foreign countries, you only train 1 discipline, especially where wrestling is a huge sport.

what you say is true, i know when i went to Iran (which has alot of really good wrestlers one of the top 3 countrys for it) guys where usually only greco or freestyle, and they had trained only that, i personally think although the greco throws (all upper body) are cool and can be used in many circumstances they dont have the ability to be as effective as freestyle do to the ability to be able to shoot from just out side of punching distance (instead of having to clinch the opponent from the top of the body risking getting knocked out)

I've heard Karelin trained freestyle with the freestyle wrestlers to spice up his training, but prefered competing in Greco since it's a more "classical" style.

I've met and trained with wrestlers that are from other countries, some national champions. They could do both styles seamlessly.

I've always heard that folkstyle is basically an American thing, in most other countries they start you in either greco or freestyle. I'm sure most wrestlers around the world learn both at some point, but it would seem that an American who wrestles several years of folkstyle and THEN learns high-level greco is a unique animal to the U.S.

It's an awkward way to develop Olympic-level wrestlers; having them start in one style until after college, then have them choose one of two other styles to study for Olympic competition. Oddly, it seems to be the perfect recipe for strong wrestling ability in MMA. Perhaps it's why the U.S. has produced so many amazing crossover fighters.

I have heard that Karelin was a junior champ in the soviet union. That would be a pretty damn high level of achievement as many junior champs form over there are capable of beaqting the mens senior national champs from around the woprld. I also heard Karelin did indeed choose Greco as it is the classic style. I've never seen this documented but did hear it from a very reliable source at a wreslting camp when i was in high school. Anyone know for sure?

Do note that the three great Greco guys in MMA (Randy, Dan, and Matt) are all on the same team. They have adapted their Greco (and freestyle) methods to MMA better than others have. Greco does give an advantage due to the posture and ability to smother in the clinch, but these guys worked together to make a modified Greco for the ring. Seems to be working pretty well too. ;)