Sebastian Rivera defeated Vito Arujua to place third at the NCAAs (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Northwestern's Sebastian Rivera has wrestling in his genes. Son of a NCAA Division III mat champ, Sebastian Rivera is a New Jersey high school state champion, Big Ten champ, and NCAA All-American who is a student of mixed martial arts, as demonstrated in an analysis of fighting styles of MMA champions ... and in his interest in a potential MMA career for himself.
Rivera's analysis of fighting styles
Rivera is now an intern for Vivid Seats, which the 125-pounder for the Wildcats described as "the leading independent ticket marketplace." Rivera is now writing content for the VividSeats.com website, with a focus on wrestling and MMA coverage, "all with an eye to driving content to our website," the redshirt sophomore told InterMat.
As part of his internship, Rivera recently put together a feature article with animated graphic for VividSeats.com titled "Which Fighting Styles Generate the Most UFC/MMA Champions?"
"Fans of mixed martial arts (MMA) have long argued which fighting style is most dominant," wrote Rivera.
"The primary fighting styles found in the UFC include wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Karate."
After analyzing the fighting styles of past and current UFC champs, Rivera tallied the numbers ... and discovered that the largest number of UFC titleholders brought a wrestling background into the Octagon.
Rivera considers post-college MMA career
Rivera is scheduled to graduate from Northwestern in spring 2020 with a major in learning and organizational change (though he will have an additional year of wrestling eligibility beyond that).
"I'm not really sure what I want to do after graduation," Rivera told InterMat. "I think MMA is worth exploring."
Armed with the information he gathered in producing the feature article for VividSeats.com that the sport of wrestling has been the leading fighting style of UFC champs over the years, Rivera sees that his strong mat background -- being introduced to the sport at an early age in his father Steve Rivera's wrestling club -- could serve him well in a potential MMA career.
"I grew up in Toms River, New Jersey. That's the hometown of Frankie Edgar, who is like a big brother to me."
"I've been involved in the MMA lifestyle," Rivera continued. "I actually like getting punched in the face. Fight or flight -- I'd say it's cooler than wrestling."
That said, Rivera isn't about to trade in his singlet for fight shorts right away. He looks forward to putting together another successful season at Northwestern again this fall. In the meantime, Rivera is pursuing yet another achievement in his wrestling career, this time in freestyle.
"I'm going to plan to make Team Puerto Rico in May, then compete at the Worlds," said Rivera.