Is Jake Paul a good wrestler?

There have been a lot of questions about Jake Paul’s wrestling background so we’ll try to provide some answers here about whether Jake Paul is actually a good wrestler.

Jake Paul has hinted several times in the past that he wants to dabble in mixed martial arts – even discussing plans of training with all time great Khabib Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy. It’s been proven over the years that success in the UFC and other MMA organizations requires a strong grappling acumen – either in wrestling, judo, brazilian jiu jitsu or sambo. Many believe that Jake Paul’s high school wrestling background along with this boxing skills would give him a solid chance in the UFC.

So how good was Jake Paul in high school? In a media scrum in 2021, Paul said: “People seem to forget that I was a state wrestler – Division 1 in Ohio. That’s one of the hardest wrestling states and I don’t see why if I can do boxing at this high of a level, that I couldn’t do MMA at this high of a level.”

Fans are often confused by Paul’s wrestling background believing he wrestled at NCAA Collegiate Division 1. If this were true (which it is not), it would put Paul in the wrestling echelon with the likes of former D1 wrestlers Chris Weidman (Hofstra), Jon Fitch (Purdue), and Justin Gaethje (University of Northern Colorado).

Paul did not actually wrestle at the Division 1 NCAA level which is for the most elite amateur wrestlers in the United States (and some of the best in the world). The division that Paul’s high school was in happened to be Division 1 in the state of Ohio (which has led to some of the confusion). The enrollment size of a school determines it’s divisional placement in Ohio. Paul was highly competitive at this level reaching the sectional finals in the Northeast region in 2014 (falling to future Cornell All-American Ben Darmstadt). The top 4 wrestlers from each section qualify to wrestle at the State championship (Paul qualified by placing 2nd). Searching the record archives, it does not appear that Jake Paul placed at the State tournament (like his older brother Logan did in 2013) Given that Ohio is one of the top wrestling states in the United States (along with Iowa and Pennsylvania) – reaching the sectional finals is actually a pretty impressive feat. Ohio’s D1 Northeast plays host to some high level wrestling programs like Brecksville, Wadsworth and perennial powerhouse St. Edwards.

So could Jake Paul’s wrestling skills make him successful in the UFC? My analysis would be…potentially. It’s clear that Jake has a strong wrestling base and with enough training, he could hone his MMA grappling to give him a decent chance in a UFC fight. At his weight, he would likely be a middleweight in the UFC where kickboxing legend Alex Pereira reigns as champion. Paul’s grappling would be no match for guys like Robert Whittaker, Marvin Vettori or Derek Brunson. To stand a chance against any UFC-caliber fighter, he would have to be matched up with a striker or a BJJ fighter where he could use a takedown-defense heavy strategy. The best matchup for him (and best selling matchup as well) would probably be a guy like Nick Diaz (not his brother Nate). Nick is an aging fighter who has proven he likes to try to stand and bang. Nick is a black belt in Jiu Jitsu so would most likely try to take Jake down but Nick’s wrestling, even in his prime, wasn’t his strongest weapon so Jake may be able to defend and turn it into a standup war.

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