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Two-time NCAA champion Austin O’Connor pivots to MMA, set for debut


Probably the greatest wrestlers in UNC historical past enters the world of MMA.

Two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Austin O’Connor is placing the gloves on.

O’Connor, 25, will bounce proper into the skilled ranks June 9 when he faces fellow professional debut Camden Fontenot (3-1 newbie) in a featherweight bout at Fury FC 91 in Rosenberg, Texas.

Born and raised in Illinois, O’Connor joined the College of North Carolina wrestling staff in 2017 after 4 straight state championship victories in highschool. He gained an NCAA championship in 2021 at 149 kilos and one other one in 2023 at 157 kilos. He additionally was a five-time All-American and three-time ACC champion.

Attributable to an absence of a really perfect weight class within the Olympics, O’Connor turned his consideration towards MMA following his sixth and remaining yr of eligibility.

“I form of fell at a nasty weight (for the Olympics). I used to be form of an inbetweener,” O’Connor lately informed MMA Junkie Radio. “I at all times had an curiosity in MMA and was linked with the precise folks and every part. I simply form of began chasing that down as an alternative of wrestling.”

In accordance with O’Connor, he had varied ends of the MMA group attain out to him for coaching and administration functions, from JacksonWink to Bo Nickal to Vayner Sports activities. In the long run, he discovered consolation beneath the wing of former UFC double champion Daniel Cormier.

“I felt like he was someone I may belief and someone I appeared as much as,” O’Connor mentioned. “He’s someone that’s gone by means of the identical factor as me. … I like that he form of retains his staff small and within the wrestling group.”

In preparation for his skilled debut on UFC Combat Go, O’Connor has been cross-training at Valle Circulate Putting (VFS) Academy in Besenville, In poor health. and American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, Calif., whereas additionally working as an assistant wrestling coach for College of Illinois wrestling.

Take heed to O’Connor’s full interview with MMA Junkie Radio under:

A brand new episode of MMA Junkie Radio with hosts “Beautiful” George and “Goze” is launched each Monday and Thursday. You’ll be able to stream or obtain all episodes over at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, OmnyStudio, and extra.
You should definitely go to the MMA Junkie Instagram web page and YouTube channel to debate this and extra content material with followers of blended martial arts.



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