One of the hottest names in the free MMA / wrestling agency market is off the table.
Gable Steveson signs multi-year deal with WWE, it was officially announced Thursday. The wrestler rose to fame this summer with his incredible last second victory at the Tokyo Olympics against Geno Petriashvili in the heavyweight freestyle gold medal match. Since then he has been a main topic of discussion in the combat sports community.
The 21-year-old has signed an NIL with WWE as he plans to return to the University of Minnesota for his final year. There, he will defend his National Division I heavyweight title before turning professional.
“I’ve been in WWE since I was very young,” Steveson says ESPN. “I was on guys like Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for a really long time. So growing up watching them, me being an artist on the wrestling mat, I felt like it was the right choice.”
Steveson was interested in both WWE and the UFC, but chose to go the pro wrestling path. Once he graduates in May, his multi-year contract with WWE will begin.
Considering Steveson’s relationship with UFC and WWE legend Brock Lesnar, this isn’t necessarily a surprising decision. NCAA national heavyweight champion for the University of Minnesota himself, Lesnar first went to pro wrestling before moving on to the UFC. He’s made several changes between the two over the course of his career, most recently being his return to WWE at SummerSlam 2021.
For now, Steveson’s attention returns to the collegiate wrestling mat. During his college career, he has already won a national championship, two Big Ten Conference championships, two All-American nominations and a Dan Hodge trophy, awarded to the country’s top varsity wrestler.
It will only be a matter of time before Steveson considers his first WWE belt.