The 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships are off to a solid start for the Minnesota Golden Gophers as they sit in second place after the first day of the national tournament. In a column relating to past wrestlers that have gone on to success in mixed martial arts, SB Nation blog Bloody Elbow remembered Brock Lesnar -- a past Minnesota wrestler that had quite a bit of success as a Gopher -- as one of the top MMA converts.
It's unclear who might be able to transfer to that sort of success on the current roster, but it's fun to look and remember one of the best Gophers wrestlers of the past.
No heavyweight burst onto the UFC scene quite like this Minnesotan Man-Mountain. Originally from South Dakota, Lesnar became a stand out for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, and even then had an imposing physique when competing in the 285lbs class. He was a Big Ten Conference Champion 2 years in a row, and NCAA runner up -- losing to New England Patriots star Stephen Neal -- and an NCAA Champion in 2001.
Lesnar made his MMA debut after a storied Pro Wrestling career, by fighting Judo Silver Medalist Min So Kim at a K-1 Dynamite! USA event in 2007. Lesnar would finally make his UFC debut against Frank Mir at UFC 81 in 2008, losing by kneebar in the first round but putting on enough of a show that Dana White was willing to give him another chance. Lesnar ran the gauntlet of Heath Herring, Randy Couture and Frank Mir, picking up the UFC Heavyweight title along the way and looking unstoppable until a debilitating bout with diverticulitis halted his career. Lesnar made a dramatic comeback to defeat Shawn Carwin a year later, but would lose quickly to challenger Cain Velasquez before being sidelined yet again with diverticulitis. Lesnar came back one last time and lost emphatically to Alistair Overeem before calling it a day, and retiring.
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