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The_Education

best US freestylers, pound-for-pound

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Pound-for-pound rankings are incredibly subjective and involve a lot of guesswork. For competitors they mean nothing.

 

For fans pound-for-pound rankings are fun to discuss. So for us fans, How would you rank the top ten US freestylers, pound-for-pound?

 

Here's my fourth attempt (I'm sure I'll have to revise again):

 

1 -- (1) THE CHAMP

 

2 -- (UR) Varner (Olympic champ, 2x D1 champ) - US Open champ

 

3 -- (5) Dlagnev (world medalist, 2x D2 champ) - US Open champ, consistently places top 5 in the world

 

4 -- (17) Metcalf (2x D1 champ, Hodge winner) - no wins at worlds yet, but he's on fire right now.

 

5 -- (20) Scott (Olympic medalist, D1 champ) - US Open runner-up

 

6 -- (UR) Foster (2x D1 AA, junior world medalist) - recent win over world champ and world number one Aldatov, US Open runner-up

 

7 -- (UR) Dake (4x D1 champ, Hodge winner) - wins over 2x world champ Tsargush and 2013 world medalist Shabanau, losses to Gadzhi Gadzhiev and 2011 world medalist Ashraf Aliyev

 

8 -- (UR) Kennedy (3x D1 AA) - looking good lately, nice win over Scott at the US Open

 

9 -- (UR) Gavin (1x D1 champ) - nice win over Foster at the US Open

 

10 -- (UR) Taylor (2x D1 champ, 2x Hodge winner) - US Open runner-up. Wrestled Burroughs tough. He could move up the ladder with some international wins

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I think Kennedy is ranked too high. Success is at a weight that top guys are moving away from b/c it is a non-olympic weight.

 

Scott too high right now. but should continue get back into form. I'd put Taylor over Foster.

 

1. JB

2, Varner

3. Dlagnev

4. Metcalf

5. Dake (assuming he is healthy)

6. Gavin

7. Taylor

8. Ruth (he beat Foster IMO)

9. Kennedy

10. Scott

11. Foster

 

Escopedo would be up there but I am assuming his injury was severe.

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Well Pico clobbered Emeev, from Russia, ( not sure where he is exactly on the Russian ladder, but must be pretty close to the top, because he was Russia's guy at the World Cup), and Pico cruised past Rutherford, last week. We'll probably get some sort of an indication this year.

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Well Pico clobbered Emeev, from Russia, ( not sure where he is exactly on the Russian ladder, but must be pretty close to the top, because he was Russia's guy at the World Cup), and Pico cruised past Rutherford, last week. We'll probably get some sort of an indication this year.

Please Pico is not in the conversation at the senior level he has not beaten any of the ranked senior guys at his weight as far as I have seen.

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Well Pico clobbered Emeev, from Russia, ( not sure where he is exactly on the Russian ladder, but must be pretty close to the top, because he was Russia's guy at the World Cup), and Pico cruised past Rutherford, last week. We'll probably get some sort of an indication this year.

 

Pico is getting way too much cred out of that ONE SINGLE MATCH over a guy who we have no idea what kind of shape he was in that day. Pico wil obvioulsy eventually start beating senior level guys, but he isn't doing that YET. For that reason, he is not in the conversation for best US Freestylers right now.

 

Metcalf would school him right now.

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Well Pico clobbered Emeev, from Russia, ( not sure where he is exactly on the Russian ladder, but must be pretty close to the top, because he was Russia's guy at the World Cup), and Pico cruised past Rutherford, last week. We'll probably get some sort of an indication this year.

 

Pico is getting way too much cred out of that ONE SINGLE MATCH over a guy who we have no idea what kind of shape he was in that day. Pico wil obvioulsy eventually start beating senior level guys, but he isn't doing that YET. For that reason, he is not in the conversation for best US Freestylers right now.

 

Metcalf would school him right now.

 

I agree. Pico has a ton of potential, and he was one of the best three high-school-age wrestlers this past season. But right now he would not make the world team.

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Scott aside had Kennedy beaten any world medallists? I want to say Fedorishin? I know he's had a great international season.

I agree Kennedy's star is on the rise, and he has been doing very well for himself internationally, as well as the U.S. Open. As far as Fedoryshyn is concerned, (he has a long history with some nice accomplishments, however, he hasn't been at the top of his game for a while now, I think his last Euro medal was 2011. And I don't think he did all that well at the World Cup). As far as Jimmy goes, it does appear that he is our best pound for pound guy right now, at 61Kg. and it would be very nice if Jimmy can continue his winning ways and get on the World Team and then win a title or a medal at this years World Championship.

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LOL on the Pico naysayers...... pretty much the same crowd that dissed Cejudo. I don't know how he would do in Senior nationals, I suspect he would be tough, and I suspect Metcalf would beat him at this point, but to categorically say he would "lose".... well, last time I checked such things were actually decided on the wrestling mat and not a discussion board.

 

This of course is only true if the naysayers are "Gods" and have ultimate knowledge. If so, could y'all give me stock tips. Please!

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Pico is getting way too much cred out of that ONE SINGLE MATCH over a guy who we have no idea what kind of shape he was in that day. Pico wil obvioulsy eventually start beating senior level guys, but he isn't doing that YET. For that reason, he is not in the conversation for best US Freestylers right now.

 

Do we have reason to doubt that he was 100%?

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To the subject.....

 

1. THE CHAMP

2. Varner (Olympic champ, 2x D1 champ) - US Open champ

3. Dlagnev (world medalist, 2x D2 champ) - US Open champ

4. Scott (Olympic medalist, D1 champ) - US Open runner-up

5. Dake (4x D1 champ, Hodge winner) - wins over 2x world champ Tsargush and world medalist Shabanau

6. Taylor (2x D1 champ, 2x Hodge winner) - US Open runner-up

7. Metcalf (2x D1 champ, Hodge winner) - no wins at worlds yet, but he's on fire right now

8. Gavin (1x D1 champ) - nice win over Foster at the US Open

9. Kennedy (3x D1 AA) - looking good lately, nice win over Scott at the US Open

10. Foster (2x D1 AA, junior world medalist) - recent win over world champ Aldatov, US Open runner-up

 

One thru eight are solid. Jury is still out on 9/10. I know I can catch grief for 5/6 but dang, they are just so good.

 

Note to Pico haters, he's not on my list.

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Pico is getting way too much cred out of that ONE SINGLE MATCH over a guy who we have no idea what kind of shape he was in that day. Pico wil obvioulsy eventually start beating senior level guys, but he isn't doing that YET. For that reason, he is not in the conversation for best US Freestylers right now.

 

Tbar, do we have reason to doubt that he was in good shape that day?

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LOL on the Pico naysayers...... pretty much the same crowd that dissed Cejudo. I don't know how he would do in Senior nationals, I suspect he would be tough, and I suspect Metcalf would beat him at this point, but to categorically say he would "lose".... well, last time I checked such things were actually decided on the wrestling mat and not a discussion board.

 

This of course is only true if the naysayers are "Gods" and have ultimate knowledge. If so, could y'all give me stock tips. Please!

I have not said he would lose I just said he has not wrestled any one at the senior level in the US so I do not think he belongs in this discussion.

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Probably gonna take some heat for my picks, but I'm going outside the box for fun:

 

1. The Champ

2. Varner

3. Taylor

4. Dake

5. Metcalf

6. Pico (maybe I'm wrong here, but from what I've seen, I think he's one of USA's best, and definitely among the World's best for his age)

7. Foster

8. Kennedy

9. Tervel

10. Steiber

 

Go ahead, fire the shots. I can take it.

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No doubt this list will be controversial, but I am not looking so much at credentials as where they are today in my view....

 

1. Burroughs- enough said

 

2. Kyle Dake- big wins over Tsargush and Shebenau. Also big wins stateside over Taylor, Howe, Marable, and Paulson. Came damn close to beating the man himself, after having wrestled three big matches already that day. And the end of the day, Dake is Dake, only a fool would doubt him.

 

3. David Taylor- my belief is that the razor close match between Taylor and Burroughs reflects where they are at relative to each other today. If true, then how can Taylor not be top three? Look at how he dominated Marable and Howe last year. Also looked good at University Worlds. Not sure I see him taking 2 of 3 from JB, but a "W" would not surprise me in the least.

 

In short, I can't help but notice that Dake and Taylor wrestle JB tougher than anyone has at the Olympics or worlds the past two years, and think either would be a contender if they were healthy and on the team.

 

4. Jake Varner- may seem too low, but the jury is out on Varner for me. Is he the same guy he was in 2012? Not so sure of this- yes he won, but other than possibly Bergman, nobody in the US at this weight remotely compares to the about a half dozen of the monsters coming out of Russia and/or former Soviet Republics.

 

5. Tervel Dlagnev- Tervel has been the guy at this weight for like five of the last six years, as unbeatable of a heavyweight as we've had stateside since at least McCoy, and maybe since Big Bruce himself. He owns a win over THE MAN, Artur Taymazov, hands down the most impressive freestyle heavyweight I've ever seen. I love his mobility and leg attacks, so impressive to see a man of this size shooting a low single. I feel like in the past he's often been a victim of the ball draw- with these new rules, this could be his year.

 

6. Logan Stieber- a controversial pick for sure- but this pick is based on where I think Stieber ranks if he were at his true weight class of 134 (I think we all understand that with weigh in rules, 134 is 141 college, so in effect, he's wrestling up a weight because it's an Olympic Weight. Logan at 134 I think would have an excellent chance to get a medal, and as I understand it, he'll get the chance to try out there if he doesn't make the team at 143.

 

7. Brent Metcalf- I may have him too low- but to me, Metcalf is a guy that when he can beat you, he looks like a god doing so as he did this weekend because he breaks guys mentally, but when he meets the best of the best, suddenly he looks quite human. No doubt the new rules help him and he does have some nice international wins this year. If he's on the team it sure would be nice to see him medal, he's paid his dues.

 

8. Clayton Foster- No idea what to do with this guy. How do you have the showing at World Cup he had, and basically lose twice this weekend? (I thought Ruth beat him). Foster also did very well at an international tournament last fall. My view is that he will emerge as our best guy at World Team Trials- though holding off Ruth for two more years seems unlikely.

 

9. Reece Humphrey-How quickly he is forgotten. Let's keep in mind that Reece was a hair away from being on the last three world teams. If he had wrestled 134, my guess is he'd have won (though it's like a 51-49 thing with Kennedy and Coleman Scott).

 

10. Jordan Oliver- Very controversial to rank him ahead of Russell, I understand. However, it my completely irrelevant opinion, Russell just has his number, but Oliver would likely fare better if they were both in the bracket at Worlds, for instance. Oliver of course beat Metcalf last year- who currently has outscored Russell like 30-0 in their series. He also beat the Russian who took bronze at the worlds. I believe Russell's best international win is over Emeev, who Pico teched.

 

10. Aaron Pico- It's difficult to know where to put him right now, but make no mistake, Aaron Pico is THE ONE. The speed and crispness that he finished his takedowns against Retherford....unbelievable. People keep saying that maybe the Russian Emeev was out of shape (though he beat Molinaro like a week before easily and nearly beat Russell), maybe he wasn't trying (evidently he likes to get beat by high school kids), maybe he stubbed his toe...well, maybe Pico is just that good. Am I correct to believe he also teched either the Jr. World Champ or Runner-up recently? Honestly, I think this is a world class wrestler right now, and it's only out of respect for these more proven guys that I don't have him higher. If this is not a future Olympic Gold Medalist, I've never seen one.

 

Alternates- Ed Ruth- A world of potential, but at this point Ruth is OVERRATED (in freestyle). I feel like in every match there is a sequence where he gives up six exposure points off his shot. The new rules are a GODSEND for him (no more one point takedowns) but he needs to tighten things up.

 

Kellen Russell- discussed above.

 

Coleman Scott- His Olympic Run in 2012 was epic, but just has not been the same guy since.

 

Jimmy Kennedy- Possibly should be on this list- just keeps getting better and better. Even if Logan and Reece eventually drop as expected, I could see him being the guy.

 

Keith Gavin- Doesn't get a lot of love on the forums, but he sure does get his hand raised a lot (at least in the US).

 

JD Bergman- Another guy the fickle fans of on the forum have quickly forgotten. Just a week ago, everyone was sure that Bergman was going to beat Varner yet again, now Varner is the Olympic Gold Medalist again and Bergman is just some also-ran. Wouldn't bet on that.

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Dlagnev is the man. I just looked up his record on the FILA database and i dont think he ever finished lower than 5th at a senior level tournament. also, for what its worth, since Tervel won his bronze at the 2009 world championship, 12 of 15 possible world level medals were won by former Soviet Republics.

 

amazing consistency, im excited to see how long he can keep his career going.

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I think Stieber gets ignored too much in this discussion. World Silver with his loss to a guy a year removed from Olympic Gold....Win over Sat....Gold medal in international tourney in Poland. Stieber has done more in freestyle than Taylor, Dake or Ruth. He has hurt himself, however, by not giving up college wrestling to train full time in freestyle. Every US Open takes place within six weeks of the end of college season. He took a strong 3rd at US Open with huge wins all through the cons after losing to Oliver (whom he beats if he has five more secs).

 

Don't sleep on him.

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I think Stieber gets ignored too much in this discussion. World Silver with his loss to a guy a year removed from Olympic Gold....Win over Sat....Gold medal in international tourney in Poland. Stieber has done more in freestyle than Taylor, Dake or Ruth. He has hurt himself, however, by not giving up college wrestling to train full time in freestyle. Every US Open takes place within six weeks of the end of college season. He took a strong 3rd at US Open with huge wins all through the cons after losing to Oliver (whom he beats if he has five more secs).

 

Don't sleep on him.

 

Agree he gets ignored and has better credentials than some guys who are usually rated highly in spite of international experience (e.g. Taylor) but he also has not proven himself to be even the #2 guy domestically, so that hurts him significantly in this discussion.

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1. Burroughs

2. Varner

3. Dlagnev

4. Metcalf

5. Scott

6. Dake

7. Pico

8. Kennedy

9. Foster

10. Stieber

11. Taylor

12. Oliver

13. Gavin

14. Russell

15. Humphrey

 

note: the only reason I have Taylor as where he is, is because almost winning doesn't cut it

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1. Burroughs

2. Varner

3. Dlagnev

4. Metcalf

5. Scott

6. Dake

7. Pico

8. Kennedy

9. Foster

10. Stieber

11. Taylor

12. Oliver

13. Gavin

14. Russell

15. Humphrey

 

note: the only reason I have Taylor as where he is, is because almost winning doesn't cut it

 

I think this is about the best true non biased list I have seen. The only thing I would change is that Snyder might fit in there somewhere between 12-15. But I can not argue at all with your rankings. Ruth will be on this list after WTT!

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