Bubba Jenkins, 2011 NCAA Division I wrestling champ for Arizona State, will make his professional MMA debut in December, Tachi Palace Fights announced Tuesday.
The 23-year-old former Sun Devil will face fellow first-timer Chris Huerta at the “Tachi Palace Fights 11: Redemption” event at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif. on Dec. 2.
MMAJunkie.com described Tachi as “one of the sport’s top regional promotions” then went on to say, “Tachi has produced a small army of top prospects, many of whom have gone on to fight in the UFC. Jenkins could be one of the most promising prospects yet.”
According to Sherdog.com, Jenkins’ first fight will take place at 155 pounds, though the Virginia native is expected to move down to 145 pounds for future bouts. Sherdog lists Jenkins as standing 5’7″, three inches shorter than Huerta.
Jenkins had made his MMA career intentions known at the 2011 NCAAs in March, saying, “MMA is next. I’m excited about it. I got fast hands, fast feet. The camera’s going to love me, I hope. I got a good smile for it.”
Jenkins took the first step toward realizing his MMA dream in late May by signing with Gorilla Management; two weeks later, Jenkins joined the American Top Team professional fight team in Florida.
As a college wrestler, Jenkins was a two-time NCAA finalist at two different schools. As a sophomore at Penn State, the Virginia Beach native lost the 149-pound title bout against Iowa’s Brent Metcalf at the 2008 NCAAs. Later, Jenkins had a falling-out with Cael Sanderson, hired as the Nittany Lions’ head wrestling coach in April 2009; Jenkins transferred to Arizona State for his final year of eligibility. As a Sun Devil, Jenkins had a 21-3 record, capping his senior season by pinning former Penn State teammate (and undefeated freshman phenon) David Taylor to win the 2011 NCAA 157-pound crown. Jenkins completed his collegiate mat career with an overall record of 94-24.
Want to know more? To learn more about Bubba Jenkins’ announcement about his MMA debut, check out these stories from respected MMA websites MMAJunkie.com and Sherdog.com. Read about how Jenkins won the NCAA title — including his freewheeling comments about his finals opponent Taylor and former Penn State coach Sanderson — by clicking here.
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