Next big thing Steve Mocco debuts tonight

by Luke Thomas | source:

Steve Mocco is arguably the greatest high school heavyweight ever, a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, a Dan Hodge Trophy winner, four-time NCAA finalist, a 2008 Olympian among numerous other titles.

Mocco's wrestling career is one of incredible achievement, but perhaps unfulfilled potential or unmet expectations. He never won an Olympic or world championships medal. He failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team.

If there is an achetype for elite wrestlers who ultimately transition to MMA, it's those who made it to the absolute peak of wrestling but ended up just short of their own career goals. Mocco fits that mold.

A chance encounter with a UFC veteran and a lingering curiosity with MMA changed everything.

Tonight in Las Vegas, Nev. at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 4 on AXS TV, Mocco is set to make his professional mixed martial arts debut under the watchful eye of Ricardo Liborio and American Top Team.

MMAFighting's Luke Thomas conducted an extensive interview with what may well be the next big thing in MMA.

Luke Thomas: So a lot of guys you actually faced in college have wound up coming over to MMA and doing pretty well, Cain Velasquez chief among that. Did you have any moments where you were obviously interested in it, obviously guys were in your ear, but did you ever have any moments where you said to yourself,'Here's a guy who I beat in college and he's just kicking ass over here. I bet I could do that, too.' Did that particular kind of thought ever cross your mind?

Steve Mocco:  Not necessarily that but I see a lot of guys I went to school with and wrestled with having success and I thought it was an interesting thing to get involved with and I think as long as I'm looking at these guys and they're doing well, and a lot of them had they continued to wrestle probably would have done really well. They made the jump so it seemed like a smoother transition looking at them.

LT: There have been elite wrestlers that have come over and maybe not quite at your level but certainly good ones and there's an argument that they were pushed way too fast. They were elite and they got into fights with guys that were MMA veterans and it didn't go their way. Some would argue that they got ruined along the way. Are you conscious of there being a 'too much, too soon?' Are you looking to have a really measured entrance into mixed martial arts in terms of the quality of opponent?

SM: I'm 30 years old. I want to challenge myself. It's not like I'm 19 years old and just getting my feet wet in the sport. At the same time, I have a lot of faith in my coaches and if they think I'm ready, I know I'm ready.

Read entire interview...




tags: Steve Mocco   video   Carmello Marrero   Antonio Silva (detail)  Bigfoot   ATT   


Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

ausgepicht site profile image  

11/4/12 5:10 PM by ausgepicht

What? That's not Dan Severn in both pics?derp

Hawkeye02 site profile image  

11/3/12 2:01 PM by Hawkeye02

Hmmm, well in terms of desertion it's like a heisman trophy winner at Michigan transferring to Ohio State, and winning the heisman and national championship. Mocco got paid to leave.

Cotton site profile image  

11/3/12 1:16 PM by Cotton

I would like to know that as well.SCIENCE, COCKSUCKAS!

CrkHedCtrl site profile image  

11/3/12 10:55 AM by CrkHedCtrl

I haven't heard Gillespie's name in a long time and had no clue he was getting in to MMA. He is going to be an absolute MONSTER. He has Demetrius Johnson-esque speed and athleticism and a wrestling style that will transfer very well into an exciting and dominant MMA career.

TheBigBadBootyDaddy site profile image  

11/3/12 10:22 AM by TheBigBadBootyDaddy

Mocco was the hottest prospect his senior year of high school. Along with an individual title, Mocco wanted to be on a championship team. He left his previous high school (where he was prep school national champ), to go to wrestling powerhouse Blair Academy. Blair is almost always the number one hs team in the nation.Rumor is that if Iowa couldn't produce a team title, Mocco was able to get an unconditional release to transfer anywhere. Most coaches won't do this, but I guess Zaleski did whatever he could to get Mocco to come to Iowa. Mocco transferred to Okie state and wins a national title as a junior, then loses to Conrad as a senior. Okie state wins team titles both years.People switch up training all the time to go where they need to to in order to succeed. I really see no issue with it.

Tommy Gunnz site profile image  

11/3/12 9:54 AM by Tommy Gunnz

yes, with Oklahoma State having the most team championships and iowa in a distant 2nd

SinCityHustler site profile image  

11/3/12 9:34 AM by SinCityHustler

They're not in the same conference.  Iowa is Big 10, Oklahoma State is Big 12.  They are huge rivals primarily because they have the most and 2nd most NCAA championships.  They dual annually, alternating location and it's much bigger than the match against their in state rival.  

Fabes site profile image  

11/3/12 9:30 AM by Fabes

How is he a traitor for transferring schools. Kids do that everyday. Mocco is gonna be a force. Good luck in the clinch against that dude!

Tommy Gunnz site profile image  

11/3/12 8:28 AM by Tommy Gunnz

are you retarded ? You do realize that iowa and iowa state aren't in the same conference right? you do realize that iowa and oklahoma state are much bigger rivals than iowa and iowa state right?