Kyle Snyder has plenty to keep him busy with the sport of wrestling these days and while he remains a fan of mixed martial arts, he no longer plans to pursue a future in fighting.
The two-time Olympic medalist, who is preparing for a supermatch against fellow American J’Den Cox as a special event on Wednesday night, had previously declared that he wanted to test himself in mixed martial arts just after he attended UFC 203 in Cleveland back in 2016.
Snyder still loves MMA but is certain that he will only continue to be a fighter until he can call it a profession.
“Yeah that’s right [I’m staying with wrestling],” Snyder confirmed to The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I attended the Stipe Miocic fighting and then I wanted to go to the Cody «No Love» [Garbrandt] against [Dominick] Cruz, and [Ronda] Rousey contre Nunes. Those were big fights. It’s like the environment’s just crazy and you’re like I’ve got to do this after you get out of there.
” Now, I see myself just wrestling. It’s not clear how much longer. God can make it last however long He wills. It is my favorite thing. I’d like to do it for a long time but whatever God wants me to do is what I’ll do. Right now, I’m just focused and getting prepared for this match in March.”
While Snyder isn’t alone with a true passion for wrestling, there was a time not that long ago when athletes would struggle to make any real money, which forced them to look at other interests like MMA to help pay the bills and make a living.
Thanks so much to Rudis and other companies that have sponsored Snyder over the years. Also, with the prize money from endowments such as the Living the Dream Medal Fund, which pays athletes for their medals at the Olympics, real money is now available in the sport.
“I think wrestling as a whole is really growing,” Snyder said. Snyder said that it was difficult to be both a professional wrestler and compete at the highest level of the sport. You just couldn’t make enough money, especially if you wanted to have a family and stuff like that. The money went to coaching and running clubs.
“The best men are getting good wages. The club you are a member of supports USA wrestling. These other sponsors also help a lot. It’s all good .”
As one of the most successful American wrestlers through the past two Olympic cycles, Snyder has no complaints with the money he’s been able to earn, which in turn has allowed him to continue training full time as he competes on the international level year round.
“Everything’s comfortable,” Snyder said. “Everything’s good. I feel like I have everything I need to compete at the highest level. It’s all good.”
Time is also on Snyder’s side considering he won his Olympic gold medal when he was just 20 years old while still competing on the wrestling team at The Ohio State University.
Now 26, Snyder is a true veteran who doesn’t intend on slowing down any time soon and that’s only going to make the American wrestling program that much stronger with him in it.
” People are still wrestling longer,” Snyder stated. “Jordan [Burroughs] is going to be 34 soon. [Kyle] Dake is in his 30s. David [Taylor] is in his 30s. Guys are wrestling for longer because there’s more support and you’re able to make more money and provide for your family, especially if you’re winning.
“It’s good. I think we’re going to continue to have a stronger team and continue to win world championships individually and as a team. It’s all going to be good for wrestling.”
Despite Snyder not being able to pursue a career in fighting, he is still a big fan and plans to watch one of his trainers as he moves into MMA.
” I’m excited about Bo Nickal’s entry into professional fighting,” Snyder stated. Snyder was referring to the Penn State wrestler and fighter. He’s going be a monster. He’ll be a force in his division. That somebody I’m looking forward to coming into the fight world.”
Next up for Snyder is a best two-out-of-three match with an Olympic bronze medalist in Cox, who was supposed to be his main rival at 97kg heading into the 2020 games.
Unfortunately, Cox was not allowed to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials after he arrived late to the official weigh-ins. Now Snyder is excited to face arguably the biggest rival he has inside the American team.
“With me and J’den not being able to wrestle at the Olympic trials and that was a match that was heavily anticipated, people were really looking forward to that so we were able to sign that match up,” Snyder said.
” We’re not just going to fight once, but we will wrestle in the best two of three as if we were at the Olympic trials .”
Cox had his first taste of MMA a few months back when he spent time in Arizona with Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist who is now a retired UFC champion.
Jones was an collegiate wrestler who said that he had eaten “some serious humble pie” while grappling with Cox.
Snyder wasn’t surprised to hear that’s how those training sessions went because as much as he respects MMA fighters, he knows it’s an entirely different world when trying to compete with a monster like Cox on the mats.
While fellow Olympic gold medalist Kyle Dake teased him about his interest in a grappling bout against a legend such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Snyder saw what happened to Jones against Cox and knows exactly what would happen if he took on anyone from the MMA industry.
“Fans would like to see it,” Snyder said. It would not be difficult, unless it was too simple. It would cause problems for even the most skilled [in MMA],. It would be a problem.”