With the arrival of Bo Nickal many are questioning how elite are the Dagestani wrestlers. One of them is Olympic gold medalist and former two division champion of UFC – Henry Cejudo.
Cejudo recently featured Michael Bisping on his channel and the two had a long and lively discussion about how Khabib Nurmagomedov would’ve done against an elite US wrestler.
“American wrestling is better than Dagestani wrestling when it comes to the sport of mixed-martial-arts. It is because American-style wrestling is the Folkstyle wrestling, it is when we’re able to control.”
“If you were to put Khabib (Nurmagomedov) with an NCAA champ or NCAA wrestler and you just have them work top-bottom with them not knowing anything about MMA, Khabib wouldn’t get up. He wouldn’t.”
Cejudo went so far as to speculate that the reason Dagestan wrestlers have had tremendous success in MMA is because they haven’t been matched with elite wrestlers.
“A lot of these guys wouldn’t get up. They just happen to keep going up against guys that don’t have that Division I (NCAA) kind of status. The other one that I could think of was Justin Gaethje, but Justin Gaethje hasn’t wrestled in probably a decade.”
” And he even said it, he’s like, ‘Dude, once I was done with wrestling, that’s one thing that I never wanted to do ever again, was to wrestle because it was hell.’ These are the words that came out of his mouth because the sport is so f***in hard.”
This is very interesting to hear from Cejudo for several reasons. For one – Cejudo is an Olympic gold medalist and he has personally gone to Dagestan for a stint. And according to both Khabib and Cejudo, he didn’t perform so hot.
Besides coaching, Cejudo is also on the commentary team for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC. At one point during the event’s promotion, Nurmagomedov offered Cejudo a unique opportunity to help promote sports to kids in Dagesatan.
“We can do seminar, you know, freestyle wrestling, MMA, like just take pictures, give kids good energy,” Khabib Nurmagomedov told Henry Cejudo. “We’re gonna go to my village.”
“Khabib (Nurmagomedov), I’ve been to Dagestan – I’ve wrestled in Dagestan,” Henry Cejudo told Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“Man, I would love to go to a tournament down there – if we’re gonna go, I’d love to see a tournament down there. Go watch these guys wrestle, but in the process, go and do a seminar. When I was in Dagestan, I didn’t win a match, dude. I wrestled three times and didn’t beat anybody, anybody!”
35 year old Henry Cejudo previously competed in the Olympic Games in Beijing and won gold in the 55 kg division. Cejudo was the youngest American Olympic Gold medalist in wrestling – he was just 21 at the time.