Former U.S. Wrestling Olympian Steve Mocco Making Move to MMA

Steve Mocco (in blue). Photo by Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

Steve Mocco, a 2008 U.S. wrestling Olympian as well as a former two-time NCAA champion, has decided to make a go at a mixed martial arts career, and hopes to debut in the sport by the end of 2012.

The move comes shortly after Mocco had spent two weeks in Coconut Creek, Florida with American Top Team helping Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva prepare for his recent UFC 146 bout.

Mocco told JoeShowRadio.com that he made the decision after failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic team by finishing third at the recent U.S. trials. While spending time at ATT, the team offered him a chance to train full time and he quickly accepted.

The 30-year-old plans to relocate from Pennsylvania to Florida to begin preparations for his debut.

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the 6-foot, 260-pound Mocco finished 7th in men's freestyle in the 120 kg division.

While in college, he captured NCAA championships at two different schools, capturing the title at Iowa in 2003 before transferring to Oklahoma State and winning it again in 2005. That year, he also won the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation's outstanding collegiate wrestler. Interestingly, he lost his bid to become a three-time NCAA champ the next year when he was defeated by current Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad in the finals.

While in college, Mocco also played one year of football at Oklahoma State, where he saw action on the defensive line. He also has a background in judo, earning a junior national championship in 1999 and placing third at the U.S. Nationals the same year.

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