Wrestling has long been considered the best basis for mixed martial arts (MMA).
Bubba Jenkins, the next challenger to the Professional Fighters League (PFL) featherweight title, knows all too well what it takes to be a great wrestler. The Arizona and Pennsylvania State University alum had a storied career throughout his college years appearing in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 and Big Ten games Conference.
Now a budding MMA star, Jenkins (19-5) grew up as a fighter since 2011, competing in Bellator before joining the PFL in 2021. During that time, he watched his fellow Russian wrestler greats succeed in the sport, but he still thinks they are no match for those who, like him, represent the United States of America.
“I could give two things about Dagestan wrestling because their wrestling is not American wrestling,” Jenkins said during a Tuesday media scrum in Las Vegas. “I don’t give a damn about Russian wrestling, really not at all. It’s freestyle, it’s not folkstyle. If they came here and wrestled the Americans in the folkstyle, we would beat the crap out of Russian wrestlers because it’s control, it’s great. We don’t just shoot you down and hope maybe transform you or something like that.
“College wrestling, folk style collegiate wrestling is the #1 style of wrestling in all of mixed martial arts. Period,” he added. “To me, come to me, holla to me, whatever you want to do, look at the champions and all of these guys have this form of NCAA wrestling ability. Obviously except for Khabib [Nurmagomedov] which is like an outlier of this type of struggle.
On November 25, 2022, Jenkins faced England’s Brendan Loughnane in the 2022 PFL Championship event for the PFL Featherweight Championship and a $1 million prize.