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Three-time national wrestling champ Ed Ruth signs with Bellator

Hunter Martin, Getty Images

One of the MMA's most coveted prospects is headed to Bellator.

Three-time national wrestling champion and four-time All-American Ed Ruth has signed a contract to compete in the promotion. The former Penn State standout had been talking to several promotions as he trains for the 2016 Olympics, but decided on Bellator in large part because of his rapport with president Scott Coker.

"I've known for a long time now that after I get Olympic gold around my neck, I was going to go get some MMA gold for my waist," Ruth told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, who later confirmed the signing with Bellator. "I've been talking with all the major organizations, and at the end of the day, I really believe in what Scott Coker is doing with Bellator. They're signing the top talent, they're putting on exciting fights, and they're letting me secure my own sponsors.

"It will be a little while until I step into the cage for the first time, but when I do, everyone they put in front of me is in for a world of hurt."

Ruth has been transparent about transitioning into MMA once his Olympic dream plays out, and with his decorated collegiate career at Penn State many believed him to be UFC bound. He was recruited to come in and help former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones prepare for his UFC 182 fight with Daniel Cormier, and has since said he would be committed to Greg Jackson's gym in Albuquerque when he began training.

Coker posted a picture of him with Ruth and Aaron Pico in April at the World Cup LA.

Heading into the 2016 Olympic wrestling season, Ruth is currently ranked No. 1 at 86kg.

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