Five for fighting
Ellis Coleman leads a pack of five Olympians who could become MMA stars
- Harry E. Walker/Getty ImagesEllis Coleman is one of several talented Olympians who could turn toward MMA.
Fight fans understand that some of the greatest Olympians often develop into the world's best mixed martial arts fighters. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were fruitful recruiting grounds for the world's top MMA promotions, unearthing Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (judo), Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion Daniel Cormier (freestyle wrestling) and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren (freestyle wrestling).
All three left the poverty of the mats for the possible riches of the Octagon. The lure of financial gain for these athletes should not be underestimated. For most, martial arts such as wrestling, judo and taekwondo by themselves simply does not pay. But if you win and market yourself well, MMA does.
Though little has been confirmed during the Games, the following North American Olympians are considered the most viable MMA candidates because of their technical skills, financial circumstances, potential marketability and pre-Olympic training location. Interviews with coaches and athletes' statements in the media also were influential in deciding which athletes to include in the final list of qualified candidates. Here's the list:
To read more of Tim Foley's story on five Olympians who could head for MMA, become an Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE OLYMPICS HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
All the information you need for wrestling rules, athletes, schedules and history.
Team USA: London Olympics