Take the average child, put him in wrestling, then show him "The Ultimate Fighter" and get him into the gym with Matt Brown and Mark Coleman, and the result just might be the most exciting former wrestler/emerging fighter you've never heard of.
"I think I picked fighting up pretty quickly, and I have a lot of confidence in my transition," Lucas Seibert said. "I think I'll be a better martial artist than I was a wrestler with the freedom martial arts gives you."
While in college, most wrestlers will keep future endeavors out of their window of eligibility. Whether it's a PhD, Olympics, Senior Circuit or MMA, it's always kept very far from visibility.
Seibert wrestled for four years as a walk-on at West Virginia, and in season he always made it a point to put wrestling first, but he was one of the few D-1 wrestlers who broke the mold and let people know, "I'm coming for the UFC octagon."
"I think one of the reasons people tiptoe around it, for one, is that fighting is kind of a scary thing," Seibert said. "For me, I think it kind of comes natural, but for some people it's kind of a scary thought to go out there and put your body on the line with everybody watching you, especially to promote yourself on your social media."
The 22-year-old future MMA bantamweight might bring in the perfect mix of Coleman and Brown's violence and the cerebral headspace of traditional wrestling. As a wrestler who was known for his aggression, it'll be a welcomed change of pace to be able to be himself.
"I had a TikTok go viral where I got pushed from behind and I walked up to the kid and pushed my forehead on him," Seibert said. "It's just the competitive spirit. Me and the kid are cool now, but people love to see that energy but then will criticize you for giving that energy. Wrestling is very old school in that sense. The thing I love about MMA is the authenticity of it; there's no lying. If you're in a cage with a person there's only truth to be had in those 25 minutes, so you might as well live your truth at all times."
His amateur debut is likely coming this summer, with the UFC in mind for the future and if he – and the fans – are lucky, he just may be the heir to the "Immortal" throne, assuming Brown's seven fights left in him have wrapped up by the time he makes it to the pinnacle of the sport he's worked his whole life to reach.
"I think that's quite possible," Seibert said. "There's a couple more guys at the gym, too; I think we will all be entering the beginning of our UFC careers right as Matt is finishing up. That'll give him something to do while he's trying to enjoy the retired life."
You don't have to have the wrestling style of Coleman and you don't have to have the brawling kickboxing style of Brown to fit in in the Immortal Gym, but you have to have the grit. It's something Seibert had long before it was a requirement.
This story first published at UFC.com.