Russia's Abdulrashid Sadulaev after winning his fourth world title (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
This past weekend was supposed to bring one of USA Wrestling's most anticipated matchups of all time: Kyle Snyder vs. J'den Cox, both multiple-time world champions and Olympic medalists, for the 97-kilogram spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic freestyle team.
However, with the spread of COVID-19, the 2020 Olympic Team Trials, as well as the Tokyo Olympics, were postponed until 2021. Now wrestling fans will have to wait a year for a Snyder-Cox showdown at 97 kilograms.
Russia's Abdulrashid Sadulaev, a 2016 Olympic champion and four-time world champion, has faced Snyder twice at the World Championships. In 2017, Snyder knocked off Sadulaev 6-5 in Paris, France. The following year, Sadulaev earned a first-period fall over Snyder in the finals of the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Sadulaev, who secured the No. 1 seed at 97 kilograms for the Tokyo Olympics, recently shared some thoughts on both Snyder and Cox in a soon-to-be released film on the Russian wrestling star produced by United World Wrestling.
"I think J'den Cox has a specific wrestling style," Sadulaev said in a video clip released by UWW. "However, Snyder will not be easy to beat. He is a current Olympic champion. And he's a lot bigger than Cox. As it is said, we will see what happens on the mat. I'm interested in seeing them wrestling against each other.
"I don't really know how the match between me and Cox will go because we've never wrestled ... We ended up in different brackets. I changed my weight category but he stayed at the same one. We have never met on the mat."
Cox, who is moving up from 92 kilograms to 97 kilograms, responded to Sadulaev's comments on Twitter:
"You Sadulaev and @Snyder_man45 are two of the greatest, and I have all the respect in the world for you both," tweeted Cox, a two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist. "I just want to put my best out there. The tests, fights, and push that I desire to have are coming soon."
United World Wrestling's full interview with Sadulaev will be released Wednesday at 7 a.m.