Five-time Olympic or World Champion Jordan Burroughs will take the mat again this weekend after dispatching of the No. 2 wrestler in the country at a weight class above him just two months ago.
This time, he’s after even tougher competition when he takes on World Champion David Taylor at FloWrestling’s event on January 9 in Austin, Texas. The event can be viewed at FloWrestling with a subscription. If you can’t watch, you can get the recap here on Corn Nation.
The former two-time NCAA Champion for Penn State, Taylor also won a World Championship in 2018 at 86 kg. He’s ranked not only No. 1 in the US but also No. 1 in the world. Taylor is the favorite to win gold in Tokyo at 86 kg.
But that hasn’t stop Burroughs from wanting to test himself against the now much bigger Taylor, as the difference between 74 kg and 86 kg is 22 pounds. Up until 2015, Taylor wrestled at 74 kg but moved up after failing to make any World Teams for Team U.S.A. Since his move, he’s improved immensely and established himself as the man to beat at 86kg.
“That’s a great challenge, man,” Nebraska head coach and Burroughs’ personal coach Mark Manning said between training sessions with Burroughs in December. “Jordan wants to be challenged a little bit, and David definitely presents a great challenge. He’s good and he’s big.”
In fact, Burroughs and Taylor wrestled four times before Taylor’s move up, with Burroughs winning all four matches. Burroughs first beat Taylor in the 2013 US Open final before beating him again in the 2014 US Open final. The second time though, Taylor made things interesting as he forced Burroughs to come from behind to earn the win.
Since their last matchup, Burroughs and Taylor have worked out together at different points. According to Manning, when these two guys start getting after it, it’s a sight to behold.
“They work out together at training camps. I’ve seen them a number of times, and I wish I had some video to show people,” Manning said. “A couple years ago, they went a couple practice matches and it was awesome.”
After beating the No. 2-ranked American at 86 kg Zahid Valencia 8-5 in November, Burroughs called out Taylor with a mic drop at the end of his post-match interview. Check it out below.
The two have a long history of trash talk on social media, so it wasn’t surprising. Just like when Taylor (whose nickname is The Magic Man) called out Burroughs for taking on No. 2 Valencia instead of him.
I made you disappear from 74kg. So who’s really the magic man? https://t.co/78zxICz4dy— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) October 5, 2020
Regardless of the trash and the theatrics, the date is set and we’ll find out if Burroughs is still America’s wrestling alpha.
“He just wants the challenge of like ‘I’m an alpha and you’re an alpha and I want to see if I can beat you.’ Manning said of the matchup. “He’s just putting in a lot of hours, a lot of hours. He’s just getting better, and I don’t know if people have a hard time believing that, but he has definitely gotten better in the last 6-7 months. He’s just more locked in. He’s always been locked in, but he’s just so focused.”
After facing Taylor, Burroughs will begin cutting back down to 74 kg in preparation for the Olympic Team Trials on April 9-11. Being a returning 2019 World Medalist, Burroughs receives a bye to the finals at the Olympic Trials.
James Green vs. Pat Lugo
Also on the card is former Husker and two-time World Medalist James Green, who is slated to take on Pat Lugo. Green is ranked No. 3 in the US at 65 kg while Lugo is fresh off a Big Ten Championship at 149 pounds for Iowa in March 2020.
While Lugo has a lot of potential and was fairly dominant in college, it’ll be tough sledding against a five-time World-Teamer like Green.