It’s not rare that you hear the discussion on which type of wrestling is „the best“, and it often revolves around a debate between Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling. However, Chael Sonnen says that it’s – neither! Precedence, in Chael’s opinion, takes Folkstyle, or Collegiate Wrestling.
Why? Chael elaborates.
THE SUCCESS OF ADAM COON
He starts off by mentioning a wrestling prodigy, Adam Coon. When his college wrestling season stopped in March 2018 and the US Open came up three weeks later in April, Adam went both into Freestyle and Greco-Roman style – which is extremely uncommon to do and unheard of being done successfully! Chael emphasizes that the competitions in these two styles are held side-by-side, with no rest in between… So Adam had to go from the Greco-Roman mats to Freestyle matches without taking a break!
However, Adam makes it into the finals of Greco-Roman, losing there – and ends up winning the Freestyle finals, by taking out the 2012 Olympic Freestyle champion! Then, he went on to the World Team Trials, where he has beaten Robby Smith – a wrestler who has not suffered a domestic loss for almost a decade prior
„FOLKSTYLE WRESTLING IS THE TOUGHEST SPORT THERE IS!“
Chael goes on to argue that this proves that the toughest sport in the world is college wrestling. He says that he has known that himself beforehand; that Collegiate Wrestling is the reason why there are so many American wrestlers that have been dominating the UFC and why there haven’t been international wrestlers that are doing the same.
The reason, Chael explains, for that is because Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling aren’t as helpful in a fight as Folkstyle Wrestling is – where an athlete is awarded for holding his opponent down against their will. Where an athlete is rewarded for getting up off the bottom and setting himself free when their opponent is holding them down. That is the reason, Chael says, why Collegiate Wrestling is the toughest sport in the world.
Now, this also goes against the usual thought in the world of wrestling that, in order to be good at a given style, you have to choose and specialize in either Greco-Roman or Freestyle, Chael goes on to say. For, Adam Coon is now the living proof that by training in Collegiate Wrestling, it is possible to walk onto both the Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling stage and win almost everything there is to win.
He also goes on to emphasize that he’s not just comparing Folkstyle with Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling; but with both MMA and BJJ as well, and grappling in general – simply put, he believes that there’s no sport tougher than Folkstyle Wrestling. When stepping in other styles and sports, regardless of the point systems and some positions being different, an athlete still steps into them with the toughness, the conditioning and the strength that simply cannot be matched.
FULL ARENAS ARE BETTER THAN MEDALS
Also, Chael says that the example of Adam Coon and Folkstyle Wrestling ties in as a counter-argument against a rule passed by USA Wrestling in 1993, which states that an athlete cannot represent United States of America in both Greco-Roman and Freestyle; but that they need to pick one between the two. This was done, he believes, in order to force athletes to specialize, which would bring in more medals for the country.
However, Chael asks – what’s more important? Winning medals or filling up arenas? In his opinion, it is much more important to fill up arenas with cheering fans, rather than to have medals that nobody cares about and that attract no significant attention.
Watch the video below to hear more on Chael Sonnen’s opinion on the subject:
Fundamental Folkstyle Wrestling by Adam Wheeler.
- Olympic Medalist Adam Wheeler shows the wrestling fundamentals in one of the most comprehensive courses we have
- Adam shows the takedowns, handfighting, and sprawls to wrestle from the feet.