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  • Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Senior All-Americans who could excel in MMA

    With evolution of MMA into a mainstream sport of sorts, collegiate wrestlers have another solid option to continue their athletic career after school. From 1979 to 2015 at least one NCAA Division I All-American has tried their hand at MMA. It is clearly not for everyone, but former wrestlers have always been some of the best fighters in the sport.

    The following is a look at six senior All-Americans who would excel in they decided to transition in MMA.

    Nathan Tomsello finished his college career as a four-time All-American at Ohio State (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State)

    After finishing his career as a four-time All-American, it is clear that Tomasello has the wrestling pedigree to be successful in MMA. However, he might be a little ahead of his contemporaries. Tomasello has been working on his boxing for years and regularly hits the mits with Ohio RTC strength and conditioning coach Dustin Myers. The Ohio State grad is expected to take a shot at the international wrestling circuit, but if he continues to crosstrain, he could be well positioned to start an MMA career.

    Kyle Snyder (Ohio State)

    Those who want to see the multiple-time NCAA/world/Olympic champion in an MMA cage got a bit of a boost this week when he called out former UFC champion Brock Lesnar. The only problem is that he called him out for a match in WWE. Originally Snyder said he was not interested in MMA. After attending UFC 203, he tweeted about his interest in the sport and told FOX Sports, "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." However, earlier this year, he told FloCombat that he received some sage-like advice from UFC champion Daniel Cormier. He said, "He's 39 years old now, and he's the champion and really no one can push him in the 205-pound weight class. So when I'm done wrestling, fighting will still be there if I still want to compete. I think that I could be a really good fighter, but we'll see what happens."

    Bryce Meredith getting interviewed after a victory in the NCAA quarterfinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Bryce Meredith (Wyoming)

    If Meredith decides to move to MMA after his runner up finish, he will have two main factors working in his favor. First, he has already shown the ability to adapt and jump levels in his wrestling career. That aptitude will likely translate into picking up the aspects of a new sport. Second, his scrambling ability and leg riding are signs of leg dexterity, which is an invaluable trait when it comes to the MMA ground game. It also probably won't hurt that he told Quint Kessenich that he enjoyed his psychical match against Vince Turk, which forced him to wear a head wrap for the rest of the tournament.

    Isaiah Martinez (Illinois)

    Martinez is clearly a gifted athlete. His strength and explosiveness would help him succeed in most sports. For MMA, his ability to control opponents and underhook could allow him to dominate fighters against the cage. Also, an MMA career would be fitting for Martinez in some ways. Lemoore, Calif., his hometown, is the site of the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, which has been the host for multiple MMA promotions include the original WEC. Tachi Palace Fights currently promotes regular shows at the casino and serves as one of the best feeder leagues on the West Coast.

    Mike Hughes (Hofstra)

    At the NCAA tournament, Hughes finished his five-year collegiate wrestling career by becoming an All-American for the first time. On the season, he went 38-6 with 19 falls. It remains to be seen the proverbial "killer instinct" in wrestling translate into MMA, but some wrestlers known to be pinners have been very successful in MMA. Hughes is also an extremely large heavyweight, and that could help him deal some of the bigger heavyweight fighters. If he chooses to follow the path laid out by Hofstra alumnus Chris Weidman, he should be quite successful.

    Scott DelVecchio (Rutgers)

    Until further notice, all senior All-Americans from Rutgers will make this list. The team has a very close relationship with former UFC champion Frankie Edgar. Plus, last offseason rumors swirled that Nick Suriano's transfer to Rutgers was partially due to his future plans in MMA after college. DelVecchio entered the NCAA tournament unseeded. He lost his first-round match. However, he then went on a run in the consolation bracket and finished sixth. Along the way, he picked up a pair of falls and knocked out Austin DeSanto (Drexel) in overtime.

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