I recently had the opportunity to chat with the 2011 NCAA wrestling national champion at 157lbs, Bubba Jenkins, who hails from Norfolk, Virginia and is a senior at Arizona State University. Jenkins isn't just a wrestling talent, he's one of the few elite, young wrestlers in the United States who's expressed an interest in pursuing a career in mixed martial arts. Given the obvious track record of success these types of athletes have enjoyed in MMA, I was curious to learn more about him before his fighting journey even really begins.
Jenkins has an interesting story and his win at the nationals this year is the stuff right out of a story book. He was recruited by Penn State University out of high school. The team eventually hires NCAA, World and Olympic champion Cael Sanderson to coach and immediately Jenkins and Sanderson clash. Jenkins is basically told he doesn't have what it takes to cut it at the top collegiate level, so he seeks a new home and winds up at Arizona State University.
Fast forward to the 2011 NCAA wrestling championships. Jenkins makes it all the way to the finals only to face Penn State's shining star in David Taylor, the freshman phenom tearing through the competition. Jenkins not only wins the match, he pinned Taylor with an inside cradle. It was the ultimate in vindication and some measure of revenge for Jenkins' falling out with his former college and coach.
Get to know Bubba Jenkins before he's the next big thing.