Colby Covington: American wrestling is much better than Dagestani wrestling

BJJ ace and Volkanovski BJJ coach created quite a stir earlier this year when he made comments that disparaged Dagestani style. Jones delivered an interesting take down of Sambo and ultimately enabled Volkanovski to neutralize Makhachev’s ground game.

Jones believes that Sambo doesn’t have good submissions, but is good at holding people down. He doesn’t think that Dagestan’s style of freestyle wrestling is the best in the world, despite their dominance in the sport plus folk style wrestlers are superior at pinning people down.

Colby Covington recently shared his thoughts on Dagestani wrestling and its effectiveness in MMA compared to American wrestling. In an interview, he provided some insightful comments on why he believes Dagestani wrestling has been successful in the UFC.

“American wrestling is much better, much more revolutionizing. Just a better style of wrestling that works in the UFC. You know, these guys have just been able to capitalize. Right time, right place, with the right matchups.”

“If they fought a guy that was a USA level wrestler like Olympic level wrestler, they’re gonna get smoked, it’s not even gonna be competitive.”

Covington was famously at Oregon State around the same time Jon Jones wrestled there.

Why Dagestani Wrestling Works

Covington believes that Dagestani wrestlers like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev have succeeded in the UFC because they haven’t been pitted against high-level American wrestlers.

He noted that the Dagestani wrestlers have been able to choose their matchups carefully, Ending up with opponents who don’t have a strong wrestling background. According to Covington, if a Dagestani wrestler were to face an Olympic level American wrestler, they would be at a disadvantage and likely lose the match quite easily.

Have Dagestani wrestler in UFC faced American wrestlers?

Khabib Nurmagomedov did actually face one high level US wrestler – Justin Gaethje. Gaethje started at just four years old. His wrestling career, and his passion for the sport led him to become a four-time finalist and two-time state champion during his high school days.

After graduating from Safford Shire High School, Gaethje went on to pursue a degree at the University of Northern Colorado, where he joined their wrestling program as an NCAA Division I wrestler.

With his hard work and determination, Gaethje became an “All-American Wrestler” for the university and was later inducted into the University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020.

Despite that, Gaethje was easy pray for Nurmagomedov who outclassed him in a single round ending with a triangle win and subsequently retiring.

While Makhachev’s MMA record isn’t as good as Khabib’s, he did face Davi Ramos a while back. Makhachev seemed determined to avoid BJJ and even wrestling at all costs during that clash.