Bubba Jenkins (Photo/Bellator)
Bubba Jenkins has made a name for himself in both amateur wrestling and MMA. And in both sports, he's been known to speak his mind.
Recently, the former Penn State All-American and Arizona State NCAA champ submitted to an in-depth question-and-answer session with Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com. In the 1,500-word Q&A, Jenkins weighed in on everything from who in MMA he would like to face in the cage ... the best music to get pumped up for a fight ... and which three guests he'd like to take out to dinner.
However, there are a couple responses sure to catch the attention of the wrestling community.
When asked who outside of MMA he would like to fight, Jenkins mentioned two individuals from his Penn State past.
"If you asked me this question a few years ago I would say Cael Sanderson due to all the history we had while I was at Penn State," Jenkins said of his former coach at Penn State who cut him loose, which led the Virginia native to transfer to Arizona State for his senior year. "I would want to show him what MMA is all about. It would be difficult because of his ability to wrestle. In fantasy world I would like to get Cael Sanderson in there and beat the hell out of him."
"But since you are asking me today, since I have no grudge against Sanderson like I used to, I would now say Frank Molinaro would be the person I would love to get in the cage with ... I never liked him as a teammate or as an opponent. He's just not a good person. I like guys with character and with personality. He's just not that guy ..."
This isn't just new-found MMA bluster. In the past, Jenkins has been open in sharing his feelings about both his coach Cael Sanderson and his teammate Frank Molinaro.
Take the press conference immediately after Jenkins won the 157-pound title for Arizona State at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships by pinning ex-Penn State teammate, David Taylor. Bubba Jenkins was asked if he harbored any ill feelings toward his opponent. "Not towards David. Definitely towards Cael. He didn't think I was good enough or the right kid to win it at that weight class or any weight class. I wanted to go 149. But he had other ideas. And he got rid of me. And one man's trash is a whole country's treasure."
However, a few minutes later, Jenkins talked about defeating the previously unbeaten Taylor.
"I didn't have too many toys and too many machines because I always broke them, always messed them up. Anytime my mom was buying machines for me, something electrical, something that was supposed to work or do something, I always found ways to break it. And that's a machine out there. That was the Penn State kid (David Taylor). That was the phenomena toy, I suppose, and I found ways to break it and disassemble it."
Frank Molinaro and Bubba Jenkins in a staredownA couple years later, at the Grapple at the Garden 2, an annual early-season amateur wrestling event held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, now MMA fighter Bubba Jenkins was part of a weigh-in scene that looked straight out of a big-time MMA event. Jenkins was originally slated to wrestle Kyle Dake, until the four-time NCAA champ for Cornell University injured his hand. Dake was replaced by ... Frank Molinaro. Jenkins shared his feelings about his former teammate on his Twitter account, with statements such as, "I hate that they put me and Frank the skank in the same sentence. I don't even like 2 see his name next to mine. #karmacoming4yoass."
In case you were wondering, Jenkins came out on top of Molinaro in their mat meeting in the Garden.
Bubba Jenkins launched his pro MMA career months after "breaking the phenomena toy" David Taylor to win the 2011 NCAA title. He is 12-4 in MMA, with his last fight being nearly one year ago. That said, it's a sure bet that Jenkins' interview with MyMMANews.com won't be the last time the former Nittany Lion-turned-Sun-Devil serves up talking points that'll have wrestling and MMA fans talking.
Want to see more from Bubba Jenkins? Check out his post-championship press conference from the 2011 NCAAs.