American Top Team has long been a staple among the top mixed martial arts gyms. They have produced such fighters as former WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown, former UFC #1 Welterweight contender Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva, Hector Lombard, Yves Edwards, Tyron Woodley and a host of other great Mixed Martial Artists. Recently they have taken aim at championship caliber collegiate wrestlers who are looking to make the transition to MMA.
Now the gym has done just that after announcing they have signed Olympic Heavyweight wrestler Steve Mocco. The 31-year-old Mocco competed at the University of Iowa, was the 285-pound NCAA Division I runner-up in 2002 and went on to win the championship a year later. He then transferred to Oklahoma State and after taking a redshirt year to try out for the Olympics; Mocco went undefeated at OSU and won another championship in 2005.
In the press release ATT stated they brought Mocco in to help Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva train as well as to get acclimated with the team. It didn’t take long before he knew ATT was the place he wanted to be, stating, “I’m happy about the opportunity to train in a new sport and excited to learn some new things and continue competing. I can’t wait to get started.”
ATT will not only train Mocco, but will also provide managerial services. ATT said in a prepared statement that they are extremely excited that Mocco has decided to train with them and believe with his wrestling background and impeccable work ethic he will reach his goals in MMA. Having someone of Mocco’s stature and credentials will also help entice other fighters looking for a place to train, especially those looking to improve their wrestling skills.
Mocco joins 2011 NCAA division I Champion Bubba Jenkins who competed at 157 pounds. He has won his first two fights and many consider him to be a top prospect in the lightweight division. He has finished both of his fights in the first round, winning one by Rear-Naked Choke in just 2:07 and the other via submission (strikes) at 2:04.
MMATraining Take: For both men choosing ATT was probably not a difficult decision to make considering their history and the fact that they have some of the best trainers in the sport including “Conan” Silveira and Ricardo Liborio.