The news hit the Ohio State and amateur wrestling community like a bomb:
Damon Martin, FOX Sports' Senior UFC writer, published an interview with Kyle Snyder, Ohio State's junior wrestling sensation, fresh off attending UFC 203 in Cleveland Saturday night, in which the NCAA champion expressed interest in the UFC.
“I want to fight. Basically what that tweet means. I love wrestling, I really do. I would want to continue wrestling but I want to do both at the same time," Snyder revealed to Martin. "I want to pursue my wrestling career, wrestle in World Championships and the Olympic games, but if the scheduling could work out and I can become an elite fighter, then I want to fight in the UFC as well.
Snyder went on to say that he may alter his training regimen to prepare for a UFC career.
“I think I'll throw some different training in pretty soon. I'm not sure exactly when I would want to fight, but I want to start working on the stuff I’m not as good at like the striking and jiu-jitsu and stuff like that," Snyder said. "I think it would be a good thing on the days I'm not practicing wrestling going and getting an extra workout.
“Obviously I would be wrestling, which would help me fight. I'm not sure when exactly I would want to come out.”
While Snyder, with his size, mat skills and work ethic, could become a quality (or even devastating) UFC fighter at some point in his career, the quotes in Martin's piece don't quite jive with his sensational tweet.
Eleven Warriors spoke with Tom Ryan, Snyder's coach at Ohio State, to find out what this all meant for his status as a Buckeye.
“Kyle is a Buckeye and will hopefully lead the program to another title,” Ryan added. “Immediately is a relative term.
“Wrestling is his passion and he loves to compete. He's a modern day warrior. A William Wallace. Freedom is won by winning the crowd. We have heavy bags in our room as they are great for upper body shoulder strength and cardio. His objective is to master the sport of wrestling and earn a degree from one of the premiere institutions in the world. Sure, he might throw some punches as part of his training, but the plan is to hone in on low singles, ankle picks and other skills that will bring more NCAA, World and Olympic gold.”
Asked about Snyder's classwork, his coach emphasized that he's a star there, too.
“This is a 3.85 student with great counsel around him. School is important to him.”
So there you have it. Expect Snyder back on the mat for Ohio State this winter, and although UFC remains an option down the road – and he may even diversify his training to prepare for it someday – he remains committed to leading Ohio State back to another championship, perfecting his craft on the mat and winning another gold medal in 2020.