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How good could Jon Jones had he chose wrestling over mma?

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On 2/15/2020 at 9:54 AM, NJDan said:

One way to judge this question is by knowing the number of JUCO champs who became NCAA champs (or NCAA medalists). Has that happened ever? How often?

Brock Lesnar

  • HS State - 3rd place | Webster High School - South Dakota
  • NJCAA - 1st place | Bismarck State College
  • D1 - 2nd place, 1st place | University of Minnesota

Cain Velasquez

  • HS State - Two-time state champion - Arizona 
  • NJCAA - 1st place | Iowa Central Community College (ICCC)
  • D1 - 4th place, 5th place | Arizona State University
Edited by jross

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11 hours ago, jross said:

Brock Lesnar

  • HS State - 3rd place | Webster High School - South Dakota
  • NJCAA - 1st place | Bismarck State College
  • D1 - 2nd place, 1st place | University of Minnesota

Cain Velasquez

  • HS State - Two-time state champion - Arizona 
  • NJCAA - 1st place | Iowa Central Community College (ICCC)
  • D1 - 4th place, 5th place | Arizona State University

Is this the whole list? One champ and one 4th place finisher?

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sounds like during his college years he could have been good but not a 3 time champ or anything.  hes good at takedowns in the ufc, but his opponents are also worried about getting punched, kicked, or taken down.  so it might be easier for him to take ppl down in ufc than in college wrestling where there is no fear of striking.  

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15 minutes ago, NJDan said:

Is this the whole list? One champ and one 4th place finisher?

Those were two that I knew offhand because of their MMA and fixed (not fake) WWE wrestling background.  I searched a bit and am surprised not to find an existing article on the topic.  One would think the NJCAA would be motivated to promote their success. 

The NJCAA history is available and requires a hundred clicks to extract a partial list of wrestler information.  Getting roster, all american, etc. information from D1-D3 seems like quite the undertaking.  If there was a data source, this would be possible to get at scale.  As it is, someone needs to have a lot of time on their hands; student project anyone?  

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On 2/15/2020 at 7:52 AM, Antitroll2828 said:

He won a Juco title at Iowa central community college and comparing him to Bo Nickal is crazy, Jones is a 1 time NY state champ, bo nickel has been a champion and wrestling on the national scene since he was a child.

for comparison sake Troy Keller wrestles for Buffalo he was juco national champ in 2018 and he was 18-10 last year and was teched by every top guy he faced 

Richie Lewis was a 2 time Juco national finalist at the same school as jones transferred to Rutgers and never AAed 

being a Juco champion doesn’t really translate to Ncaa success, and from everything I’ve heard Jones is the ultimate Anti team, Me first guy there is, which is the complete opposite of what Iowa preaches, I don’t think he d make it through a semester with his attitude 

 

It's okay to compare Jones to Bo Nickal, just not favorably so. Plus, I knew a JUCO champ who transferred to Oklahoma State in '83 and finished 4th at NCAAs in '84 or '85 (Karl Lynes  190).

Edited by TobusRex

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On 2/14/2020 at 9:51 PM, Sublime607 said:

Watched his brother Arthur as a 10th grader come out of no where and Pin his way to a 2003 NY state title. It's my opinion that Arthur was the best wrestler in the family.

Coached a really good heavy at Sr Nats in Cleveland that faced Arthur Jones In R16 (I think) and Arthur was super explosive on his feet for a HIgh School Heavy.  

To this day, I really think Arthur could have been a multi-time D1 AA had he pursued it.

Edited by Show_Me

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On 2/15/2020 at 9:54 AM, NJDan said:

One way to judge this question is by knowing the number of JUCO champs who became NCAA champs (or NCAA medalists). Has that happened ever? How often?

No, that's not a good way to resolve the question. Those statistics just confuse the issue.

The exceptions to the statistics are the focus here.

Jones is one of the exceptions.

Edited by GreatWhiteNorth

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I was recently in Fort Dodge hanging out with some family and I asked my cousin about Jones. My cousin lived with him, Joe Soto and Colby Covington while they wrestled at Iowa Central. I can’t remember where he said Jon was going to college after Iowa Central but he wanted to go the MMA route instead. 
 

and yes it’s easier to get coke in dodge than Iowa city haha 

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On 2/15/2020 at 10:54 AM, NJDan said:

One way to judge this question is by knowing the number of JUCO champs who became NCAA champs (or NCAA medalists). Has that happened ever? How often?

Three come to mind right away - Brock Lesnar MN, TJ Williams Iowa & Tony Davis No Io - I am sure there are many more.

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On 2/15/2020 at 9:54 AM, NJDan said:

One way to judge this question is by knowing the number of JUCO champs who became NCAA champs (or NCAA medalists). Has that happened ever? How often?

Here are the NJCAA champions, between 2001 and 2019, that were champions in other divisions.

  • 0 D1
  • 5 D2
  • 1 D3
  • 9 NAIA
Row Division Season Weight Athlete College NAIA Champ D1 Champ D2 Champ D3 Champ Other Div Champ
1 NJCAA 2001-02 184 Willie Parks Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
2 NJCAA 2002-03 125 Brett Allgood Iowa Central No No Yes No Yes
3 NJCAA 2002-03 133 Paul Collum Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
4 NJCAA 2003-04 149 Mike Rio W. R. Harper Yes No No No Yes
5 NJCAA 2004-05 125 Seth Wright Northwest No No Yes No Yes
6 NJCAA 2004-05 141 Zach Flake Lassen Yes No No No Yes
7 NJCAA 2005-06 133 Raymond Stephens Waubonsee Yes No No No Yes
8 NJCAA 2006-07 149 Matt Burns Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
9 NJCAA 2006-07 184 Kyle Sand North Idaho No No Yes No Yes
10 NJCAA 2008-09 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas No No Yes No Yes
11 NJCAA 2009-10 133 Omi Acosta WAUB Yes No No No Yes
12 NJCAA 2010-11 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas  No No Yes No Yes
13 NJCAA 2013-14 133 Cary Palmer Clackamas No No No Yes Yes
14 NJCAA 2013-14 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes
15 NJCAA 2014-15 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes

The following notes were of interest in a small amount of additional research:

  • PDIII and Joe Colon were NJCAA Champions that later represented the USA world team.
  • Bekzod Abdurakhmonov is the wrestler that beat Jordan Burroughs by technical fall at the 2016 Olympics and took home a bronze medal.  Bekzod was a two time NJCAA runner up.
  • Multiple NJCAA All-Americans later became D1 All-Americans.  Eric Luedke is an example of a Kansas wrestler without D1 options.  He was a one time Kansas High School State champion, 2xNJCAA champion, and later a 2xAA for D1 Iowa.
  • Charles Lloyd was an NJCAA Champion that could not crack the starting line up for D1 Minnesota.
  • Many NJCAA wrestlers found success in the MMA.  Some were given UFC title shots and or were UFC champions.
  • Bogdan Clufulescu was a 1996 Olympic representative for Romania that became a 32 year old USA college freshman.  He was a 2xNJCAA champion that claimed NJCAA was tougher than D2 and D3 NCAA wrestling.
  • Seth Wright was an NJCAA runner-up and champion that joined D1 UNI.  He left wrestling for a couple years and then joined a New Mexico NCAA D2 team and became a national champion again.

Brock Lesnar is an exception case where he was a NJCAA and D1 national champion.  I left him out due to limited data sets before 2001.  The data strongly suggests that Jon Jones would not have been a national champion for D1 wrestling.

Edit: The data is available for you to read or edit @ https://tinyurl.com/wzqdg4h.

Edited by jross
added data link

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On 2/14/2020 at 7:01 PM, Tommy Payan said:

WHAT???  NO COKE IN IOWA........that's it, I'm never going there.

No, sir, but if you head south and west to a little town called Tempe in Arizona, you just might find your shangrila.

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On 2/17/2020 at 1:28 PM, TobusRex said:

It's okay to compare Jones to Bo Nickal, just not favorably so. Plus, I knew a JUCO champ who transferred to Oklahoma State in '83 and finished 4th at NCAAs in '84 or '85 (Karl Lynes  190).

Don't forget about two-time NJCAA champ (whom I believe pinned Tab Thacker for his second title), Tommy Erikson, from the mighty Triton Trojans in near west suburban Chicago. He was a two-time AA for the Pokes in '85 and '86, I believe.

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17 hours ago, jross said:

Here are the NJCAA champions, between 2001 and 2019, that were champions in other divisions.

  • 0 D1
  • 5 D2
  • 1 D3
  • 9 NAIA
Row Division Season Weight Athlete College NAIA Champ D1 Champ D2 Champ D3 Champ Other Div Champ
1 NJCAA 2001-02 184 Willie Parks Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
2 NJCAA 2002-03 125 Brett Allgood Iowa Central No No Yes No Yes
3 NJCAA 2002-03 133 Paul Collum Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
4 NJCAA 2003-04 149 Mike Rio W. R. Harper Yes No No No Yes
5 NJCAA 2004-05 125 Seth Wright Northwest No No Yes No Yes
6 NJCAA 2004-05 141 Zach Flake Lassen Yes No No No Yes
7 NJCAA 2005-06 133 Raymond Stephens Waubonsee Yes No No No Yes
8 NJCAA 2006-07 149 Matt Burns Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
9 NJCAA 2006-07 184 Kyle Sand North Idaho No No Yes No Yes
10 NJCAA 2008-09 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas No No Yes No Yes
11 NJCAA 2009-10 133 Omi Acosta WAUB Yes No No No Yes
12 NJCAA 2010-11 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas  No No Yes No Yes
13 NJCAA 2013-14 133 Cary Palmer Clackamas No No No Yes Yes
14 NJCAA 2013-14 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes
15 NJCAA 2014-15 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes

The following notes were of interest in a small amount of additional research:

  • PDIII and Joe Colon were NJCAA Champions that later represented the USA world team.
  • Bekzod Abdurakhmonov is the wrestler that beat Jordan Burroughs by technical fall at the 2016 Olympics and took home a bronze medal.  Bekzod was a two time NJCAA runner up.
  • Multiple NJCAA All-Americans later became D1 All-Americans.  Eric Luedke is an example of a Kansas wrestler without D1 options.  He was a one time Kansas High School State champion, 2xNJCAA champion, and later a 2xAA for D1 Iowa.
  • Charles Lloyd was an NJCAA Champion that could not crack the starting line up for D1 Minnesota.
  • Many NJCAA wrestlers found success in the MMA.  Some were given UFC title shots and or were UFC champions.
  • Bogdan Clufulescu was a 1996 Olympic representative for Romania that became a 32 year old USA college freshman.  He was a 2xNJCAA champion that claimed NJCAA was tougher than D2 and D3 NCAA wrestling.
  • Seth Wright was an NJCAA runner-up and champion that joined D1 UNI.  He left wrestling for a couple years and then joined a New Mexico NCAA D2 team and became a national champion again.

Brock Lesnar is an exception case where he was a NJCAA and D1 national champion.  I left him out due to limited data sets before 2001.  The data strongly suggests that Jon Jones would not have been a national champion for D1 wrestling.

Edit: The data is available for you to read or edit @ https://tinyurl.com/wzqdg4h.

Nosomy Pozo left NIACC and went to Oklahoma for one season. I believe he was redshirting. Either way, he went back south east towards Florida, from where he hails, and wrestled NAIA for Life U in Georgia.

Pozo's high school and NJCAA teammate was also a two-time champ for NIACC at the same time and stayed at Oklahoma. I don't know if he qualified for them, but he started for at least a bit.

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I coached in the NJCAA for some years within the last decade and here are some things I found:

- Most of the guys who are there are there because academics is not their priority.

- That being said, anymore, if you have aspirations of wrestling in the NCAA, you've done enough to pass the Clearinghouse right out of high school.

- The level of competition in D3, D2, and NAIA from when I graduated high school nearly 30 years ago is drastically improved as D1 optuons have decreased. 

- With that last statement, for as many of the gains made by programs on those three levels, D1 is that much tougher, too.

- The amount of kids coming to the NJCAA from D1 are small. The number of kids going from NJCAA to D1 is a very small fraction of those guys.

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I think he would have won the NCAA's in 2007. Not guaranteed but at least a 50% shot. 

JOn Jones won NJCAAs in 2006

 

Chris Weidman never took higher than 3rd at NJCAA's. Then he went D1 and was a 2xAA finishing as high as 3rd in 2007. Max askren was the 1 seed in 2007 (Jones beat Max), Kurt Backes took 2nd (Jon wrestled Backes in a close match) and Josh Glenn was national champion. Anyone saying he wouldn't have a shot is delusional. Just like many wrestlers and weights this year, and every year, it would have had alot to do with where he went, how he developed, how his bracket shook out, etc. 

Edited by jsmalls131313

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My two cents: Jon Jones wasn't going to win an NCAA D1 title. He wrestled Kurt Backes of Iowa State the year he was JuCo champ and was not on Backes's level in any sense of the word.

Jones was good, and if his focus was in the right place, and he was in the right program, he could have been a one, maybe two-time mid- to low-AA place winner.

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Here are the NJCAA champions, between 2001 and 2019, that were champions in other divisions.
  • 0 D1
  • 5 D2
  • 1 D3
  • 9 NAIA
Row Division Season Weight Athlete College NAIA Champ D1 Champ D2 Champ D3 Champ Other Div Champ
1 NJCAA 2001-02 184 Willie Parks Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
2 NJCAA 2002-03 125 Brett Allgood Iowa Central No No Yes No Yes
3 NJCAA 2002-03 133 Paul Collum Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
4 NJCAA 2003-04 149 Mike Rio W. R. Harper Yes No No No Yes
5 NJCAA 2004-05 125 Seth Wright Northwest No No Yes No Yes
6 NJCAA 2004-05 141 Zach Flake Lassen Yes No No No Yes
7 NJCAA 2005-06 133 Raymond Stephens Waubonsee Yes No No No Yes
8 NJCAA 2006-07 149 Matt Burns Iowa Central Yes No No No Yes
9 NJCAA 2006-07 184 Kyle Sand North Idaho No No Yes No Yes
10 NJCAA 2008-09 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas No No Yes No Yes
11 NJCAA 2009-10 133 Omi Acosta WAUB Yes No No No Yes
12 NJCAA 2010-11 285 Tyrell Fortune Clackamas  No No Yes No Yes
13 NJCAA 2013-14 133 Cary Palmer Clackamas No No No Yes Yes
14 NJCAA 2013-14 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes
15 NJCAA 2014-15 149 Nosomy Pozo North Iowa Area Yes No No No Yes
The following notes were of interest in a small amount of additional research:
  • PDIII and Joe Colon were NJCAA Champions that later represented the USA world team.
  • Bekzod Abdurakhmonov is the wrestler that beat Jordan Burroughs by technical fall at the 2016 Olympics and took home a bronze medal.  Bekzod was a two time NJCAA runner up.
  • Multiple NJCAA All-Americans later became D1 All-Americans.  Eric Luedke is an example of a Kansas wrestler without D1 options.  He was a one time Kansas High School State champion, 2xNJCAA champion, and later a 2xAA for D1 Iowa.
  • Charles Lloyd was an NJCAA Champion that could not crack the starting line up for D1 Minnesota.
  • Many NJCAA wrestlers found success in the MMA.  Some were given UFC title shots and or were UFC champions.
  • Bogdan Clufulescu was a 1996 Olympic representative for Romania that became a 32 year old USA college freshman.  He was a 2xNJCAA champion that claimed NJCAA was tougher than D2 and D3 NCAA wrestling.
  • Seth Wright was an NJCAA runner-up and champion that joined D1 UNI.  He left wrestling for a couple years and then joined a New Mexico NCAA D2 team and became a national champion again.
Brock Lesnar is an exception case where he was a NJCAA and D1 national champion.  I left him out due to limited data sets before 2001.  The data strongly suggests that Jon Jones would not have been a national champion for D1 wrestling.
Edit: The data is available for you to read or edit @ https://tinyurl.com/wzqdg4h.

Thanks for putting in the time to put this together. Our Juco guys need some more love occasionally.
Seth was a college teammate and practice partner of mine. He was a heck of a wrestler. He qualified for D1 nationals as a junior for UNI and drew Simmons first round. I happen to think he could have come close to placing had he gotten a different draw. He is a good dude, as are his brothers.

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2 hours ago, jsmalls131313 said:

I think he would have won the NCAA's in 2007. Not guaranteed but at least a 50% shot. 

JOn Jones won NJCAAs in 2006

 

Chris Weidman never took higher than 3rd at NJCAA's. Then he went D1 and was a 2xAA finishing as high as 3rd in 2007. Max askren was the 1 seed in 2007 (Jones beat Max), Kurt Backes took 2nd (Jon wrestled Backes in a close match) and Josh Glenn was national champion. Anyone saying he wouldn't have a shot is delusional. Just like many wrestlers and weights this year, and every year, it would have had alot to do with where he went, how he developed, how his bracket shook out, etc. 

The video of the Backes-Jones match is gone. I saw it two to three times when it was around years ago. The final was 8-3 with Jones never threatening Backes.

https://cyclones.com/news/2006/11/15/684743.aspx - in case anyone wanted to confirm the score.

Jones would have never made the finals at NCAA D1.

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Shawn Silvis was an Augusta, KS wrestler that was a 2xNC for a NCAA DII program between 2000-2004.  As a true junior, he beat the NCAA D1 redshirting Ben Askren (Ben went 24-8 in 2002-03).  During Silvis' senior season (03-04), as of December 10th, 2003, Silvis had a 13-2 record against DI competitors.  He was 4-2 against the (then) top eight ranked D1 wrestlers.  He split with sixth-ranked Jacob Volkmann of Minnesota (3xAA) and lost 7-5 in overtime to third-ranked Matt King of Edinboro (2xAA).  He went 2-0 vs. No. 7 Levi Prevost of Wyoming and beat No. 8 John Clark of Ohio State (2xAA).  Shawn finished his senior year as the DII runner up at 165.  That year Ben Askren was a DI finalist at 174.

Could Shawn Silvis had been a DI finalist?  He would have to beat Troy Letters or Tyrone Lewis at 165 his senior year.  He could have AA for sure.  Who knows, maybe he could have gone up another level if he had better practice partners like Ben Askren had.

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In jest, was Ben Askren a scrub?  

I have a transitive win over Ben Askren via Shawn Silvis via Shaun Moore who I beat in high school.  My crowning achievement in college wrestling is a third place finish at the Kansas State intramural tournament in 2000-2001.  I lost ~20 times in high school which means there are other transitive winners.  After my crowning achievement, I lost at old timer tournaments, alumni duals, and in back-yard matches.  With his transitive wins, could that ex-HS-JV kid that beat me at the last alumni dual have been a D1 champ?  

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7 hours ago, Tofurky said:

Don't forget about two-time NJCAA champ (whom I believe pinned Tab Thacker for his second title), Tommy Erikson, from the mighty Triton Trojans in near west suburban Chicago. He was a two-time AA for the Pokes in '85 and '86, I believe.

I remember the name, he was a pretty good wrestler.  We both knew the same girl, she dated me after him :D I'm sure I was a huge improvement, what with my gigantic genitalia. 

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7 hours ago, Tofurky said:

My two cents: Jon Jones wasn't going to win an NCAA D1 title. He wrestled Kurt Backes of Iowa State the year he was JuCo champ and was not on Backes's level in any sense of the word.

Jones was good, and if his focus was in the right place, and he was in the right program, he could have been a one, maybe two-time mid- to low-AA place winner.

Sounds about right. Matt Hughes was about the level you mentioned in college and he had a comparable MMA career to Jones. 

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