Edinboro's Chris Honeycutt - who will wrestle Cornell's Cam Simaz for the national title tonight at 197lbs - spoke to the first-rate site Flowrestling after his semifinal win over Wilps. Honeycutt explains what the gameplan was headed into that match and how he'll prepare for Simaz. Honeycutt seems relaxed in this short interview and very much at peace with what he has to do tonight to win against the heavily-favored Simaz.
The reason he might be so calm is that as he says in the video, this is the last wrestling match of Honeycutt's career. He plans to pursue a career in mixed martial arts after college, so he doesn't appear to sweating the implications of the tonight's match. I'm sure he's eager to win, but it's about the end of one chapter in his athletic career as he transitions to the next.
There's debate about whether MMA is healthy for wrestling. Sure, more kids might wrestle in high school as a result of watching MMA, but what about the elite wrestlers? Are they being derailed from international wrestling by the lucrative dollars of MMA? In some cases that may be true. We'll always wonder what a two-time national champion like Johny Hendricks would've done at the international level. Same for three-time champion Jake Rosholt.
But a wrestler like Honeycutt seems to be the perfect example of how MMA can benefit transitioning wrestlers. It is highly unlikely Honeycutt's style and ability would carry him to success should he pursue international wrestling. His game is just not there for those kinds of challenges even if he's a sensational athlete. Instead, a career in MMA at this juncture in his athletic career makes a great deal of sense. In the absence of MMA, Honeycutt is the sort of wrestler who would ordinarily go on to coaching at the high school or collegiate level somewhere, likely starting in some sort of assistant role and not earning much of a salary. By contrast, now he can take his considerable skills and athletic ability to a modern fight camp and both make money as well as continue a life as a competitive athlete.
That's a win for Honeycutt, a win for MMA and given how his inclusion in fight sport will naturally mean an acknowledgement of his background in wrestling, a win for Honeycutt's first sport of wrestling, too.