Bryce Meredith at Senior Nationals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Bryce Meredith, two-time NCAA finalist for the University of Wyoming who is currently training to earn a spot on the U.S. men's freestyle Olympic team, is already looking beyond the 2020 Tokyo Games toward a professional mixed martial arts career.
Meredith, who started training at the Princeton Wrestling Club and the New Jersey Regional Training Center last August to pursue his Olympic dream, has already taken at least two steps toward an MMA career: first, having recently signed a contract with the management firm Martin Advisory Group (which already represents other wrestlers-turned-MMA-fighters such as Ryan Bader, Michael Chandler, Logan Storley and Robbie Lawler) ... and by revealing his MMA plans to MMAFighting.com.
"Pretty much I've known my entire life that I was going to transition into MMA," Meredith told MMA Fighting on Thursday. "You've got to figure out the right time to do it, when you decide that you want to leave wrestling, or if you want to do both for a little bit and then transition into MMA completely as you get the ball rolling.
"For me, it's literally been written in stone my entire life."
The 24-year-old Meredith would bring an impressive collegiate wrestling background as a three-time NCAA All-American at 141 pounds -- along with experience in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling -- into an MMA career. What's more, Meredith offers additional aspects which he sees as advantages in MMA.
"I'm 5-9, and I'm probably going to fight at 135 [pounds], so that [makes] me a very long, lengthy 135-pounder with a wrestling background," Meredith explained. "I've talked to other people, I've rolled with other people, and the way the style goes, my wrestling really favors a fighting style of wrestling.
"I was known for my mat wrestling. Being able to escape from anybody. My senior year at Nationals, all five of my opponents, nobody chose bottom on me, which in my head was kind of crazy. I was known for being very good on top and bottom and that was one of the reasons why I became so successful in folkstyle wrestling."
It appears that Meredith -- who, prior to college, was a four-time Wyoming high school state champ at Cheyenne Central -- has always had a passion for fighting, even as a kid.
"I think a lot of wrestlers they've been kind of pushed in the direction -- are you going to do MMA? I don't think a lot of them grew up enjoying the sport, watching it, sparring with people when they were kids," Meredith said. "Obviously, I haven't done a lot of sparring and hitting mitts to where I need to be, but I grew up fighting, being a fan of fighting.
"We had fight clubs, because all of my friends were boxers. It's something I've been a fan of and drawn to my entire life."
In other words, no matter what happens with Bryce Meredith's Olympic dream, the former Cowboy wrestler appears to have the tools -- and the vision -- to make a name for himself in MMA.