Jared Rosholt (R) kicks Richard White (L). (Photo courtesy of Team Takedown)
Even though he didn’t start training in MMA until after college, in some ways Jared Rosholt has been readying for a UFC career since high school.
Rosholt (Twitter: @JaredRosholt), the most accomplished heavyweight wrestler in Oklahoma State University history, traded his singlet for a pair of four-ounce gloves nearly three years ago. After compiling a collegiate record of 127-25, Rosholt came to a crossroads so many college wrestlers meet as their amateur wrestling days come to an end.
“When I got done with college wrestling, I had been (wrestling) for 18 years,” Rosholt told MMADiehards.com. “After going through that grind of (NCAA) Division I wrestling seasons I was ready for change, but I wasn’t ready to be done competing. With all the changes that were going on with the freestyle-wrestling rules, I just wasn’t really sure I wanted to do it the way it was at that time. They changed the rules now to where it’s a lot like the wrestling I grew up doing, but for a while they changed the rules and it just wasn’t for me.”
As conventional wrestling wasn’t a path Rosholt envisioned himself following anymore, the three-time NCAA All-American wrestler entertained other competitive outlets.
Fresh out of college Rosholt was recruited by the Independent Pro Wrestling Training Center in Tampa Bay, Fla. He had the opportunity to work out with fellow WWE hopefuls and learn a small bit about pro-wrestling. The idea of Rosholt showcasing his skills in the WWE was not that farfetched, but things didn’t come to fruition, so the former OSU wrestler was forced to investigate other options.
“When I was young we used to watch (WWF) as a family, so I was kind of interested,” Rosholt said. “The only thing was I just had a kid out of college, and one of the things they didn’t beat around the bush about was that you’re going to be on the road 350 days a year. I also thought about football too. I never really even watched MMA until (brother and former UFC combatant) Jake (Rosholt) started doing it. I started watching it and I was immediately attracted to it. It was something that really intrigued me.”
Rosholt’s focus nowadays is fully concentrated on MMA. His 8-1 career record, coupled with his recent 34-second destruction of Jason Walraven, have put Rosholt in the UFC’s sights. Though, the Zuffa-owned promotion is Rosholt’s ultimate goal, he is not opposed to employment under one of the other top-tier organizations in the world.
Rosholt said if things made sense business-wise, the World Series of Fighting could be an option. The clear-cut No. 2 promotion in the world, Bellator, is also a viable option. Bellator’s chances would be heightened if they approach Rosholt with a deal comparable to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal’s contract, which incorporates MMA and pro-wrestling.
“I have thought about that,” Rosholt said. “That’d be something I’d like to talk to Bellator about. I don’t know how they go about doing that, but I’d be interested in finding out. After being in camp with those guys for a week I kind of understand how they do it and some of the basic stuff. I don’t know if TNA is the same as WWE as far as the way they choreograph stuff, but I would assume it’s somewhat similar.”
Likewise to most mixed martial artists on the rise, the UFC is where Rosholt wants to put his skills on display. It’s one of the most difficult sports organizations to get into. Unlike other sports organizations, the UFC doesn’t have teams and thousands of players, along with farm teams to keep athletes competing while awaiting their calling.
Competing in an individual sport and vying for a spot amongst the sport’s elite players is something Rosholt is used to. His past experiences have prepared him for what he will endure en route to establishing a livelihood in MMA.
“It kind of reminds me of high school wrestling a little bit,” Rosholt explained. “You keep competing until you get picked up by a (NCAA) Division I school. You don’t want to get picked up by a (NCAA) Division II school; you want to compete against the best guys. The UFC is just that. I hear you get treated better than anywhere else, the pay is better and it’s like a real career.”