At the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Steveson won gold in the men’s freestyle wrestling competition after defeating three-time and reigning World Champion Geno Petriashvili in the final. Overall in the sport, the 21-year-old’s achievements are remarkable. Alongside his newly-achieved gold medal, Steveson is the reigning Pan American Continental champion, and was a three-time age-group World Champion.
After reaching the sport’s mountaintop in Tokyo, and in doing so, becoming the first American heavyweight to win freestyle Olympic gold since 1992, Steveson’s stock in the combat sports world has risen significantly, and he’s undoubtedly at the top of the recruitment list for a number of promotions. The wrestling star even recently hinted at having an interest in signing with the UFC.
But despite the man himself claiming he could become a champion in the promotion within 18 months, Daniel Cormier isn’t convinced that would be his best course of action.
“I’m Going To WWE First”
Speaking during a recent episode of DC & RC, the former six-time US World or Olympic Team Member suggested that if he was in Steveson’s shoes, he’d venture into the world of sports entertainment, and follow the same career path as crossover sensation Brock Lesnar.
“If I’m Gable Steveson, I’m going to the WWE first. I’m taking the Brock Lesnar approach. I’m going there, I’m building my name, because the WWE wants him just as much as the UFC. I’m going to the WWE first.”
Cormier added that Steveson, whom “DC” knows well, can develop to the point where he can be main eventing UFC events as soon as he arrives on MMA’s biggest stage.
“I’m (Steveson) getting built into a monster over there. And then, I’m coming to the UFC where immediately I’m at the top of the cards, and immediately I’m getting pay-per-view money, immediately I am the man, and I bring that fanbase with me. It’s right out there for Gable. He’s a tremendous athlete. I love the kid. We talk on the phone; we play video games. He’s a tremendous kid.”
When former Super Bowl champion Ryan Clark questioned the suggestion, Cormier explained the value a stint with WWE would do for Steveson’s value moving forward in his career.
“I’m telling you…Brock Lesnar made boat loads of money, and he did it for the rest of his career. He was able to use the UFC in his negotiations with the WWE, use the WWE in his negotiations with the UFC, because he was such a massive star…this is the way to go if you’re Gable Steveson. I might get a call from the UFC brass about this like, ‘what are you doing? Like, what are you doing?”
Brock Lesnar’s Road to UFC
Brock Lesnar began his career as an amateur wrestler. After winning the NCAA Division 1 heavyweight wrestling championship in his senior year, “The Beast Incarnate” signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and transitioned to professional wrestling as a two-time NCAA All-American.
Having later become one of the most marketable and recognizable names in WWE, and becoming the UFC Heavyweight Champion, Lesnar was one of the most sought after individuals across both promotions.
DC seems to think Gable Steveson could engineer a similar path for himself.