Kyle Crutchmer battles PSU's Mark Hall (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Four months after wrestling at the 2017 NCAA Division I championships -- and a bit more than a month after the USA Wrestling World Team Trials -- Oklahoma State's Kyle Crutchmer is already in training for his new career as a professional mixed martial arts fighter. And he's doing it with the help of a couple fellow former Cowboys.
Crutchmer -- a two-time NCAA All-American for the Cowboys -- has taken the first steps towards an MMA career. He's signed with an agent (though he has yet to ink a deal with an MMA promotion). What's more, the Tulsa native recently relocated to California full-time to join the American Kickbocking Academy in San Jose -- the same gym where Daniel Cormier, current UFC Light Heavyweight champ, and former Cowboy and Olympic wrestler -- spends countless hours in training.
"I always knew I wanted to try (MMA) since I was wrestling in high school," Crutchmer told the Stillwater (Okla.) News-Press . "Wrestling at OSU, you are so tied up that you don't have much to think about other than school or wrestling, so I didn't start thinking about it again until April after I got done competing in college.
"I wanted to wrestle in the summer just to say that I did it in the highest level of wrestling. But I always kind of knew that I was going to make the transition to MMA. It was just a matter of time."
Last week, Crutchmer had his first boxing lesson at AKA. But he's not abandoning his wrestling roots ... thanks to yet another Oklahoma State mat alum.
Jamill Kelly, associate head wrestling coach at Stanford who was a two-year starter for the Cowboys -- and a silver medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics -- asked Crutchmer to help work out with the Cardinal wrestling program.
"He found out that I was going to be out in this area and asked if I would come by and wrestle his guys three times a week," Crutchmer said. "And in MMA, you still have to have good wrestling, so I see it as another avenue to learn from another one of the best guys to wrestle at Oklahoma State."
Crutchmer has no allusions about finding instant fame and fortune in MMA ... but is eager to start competing.
"Whenever they feel I'm ready, that's when I'll be ready to compete," Crutchmer said. "So far, I've been a fast learner. I'd like to fight before the year's over."