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John Smith- An American Grappling Legend

John Smith- An American Grappling Legend


In honor of the wrestling world championships, which took place this weekend in Budapest, Hungary, let's take a look at one of the most accomplished American Wrestlers in history- John Smith, head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State University.

World Champion While Still in College

Smith was a two-time NCAA Division 1 national champion, wrestling for Oklahoma State University, with a college record of 154-7-2.  On the international stage, he had a 100-5 career record, which included 6 world championships (1987, 88, 89, 90, 91, and 1992), two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1992).

When he won his first world championships in 1987, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, Smith was still a Junior at Oklahoma State.  Additionally, Smith was the first wrestler to be voted as the James E. Sullivan Award winner as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. 

John Smith is also an Amazing Coach

Not only was John Smith a phenomenal competitor, but he continues to be an amazing coach as well.

Since beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, he has won five NCAA Division 1 national team titles (1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006), with an overall dual meet record of 425-63-6.  Under his tutelage, his team has produced 32 NCAA Division 1 individual national champions, and 129 All Americans.  He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003.

Coach for UFC Champions

Smith also has the distinction of having coached the most UFC champions while they wrestled in college-having coached Randy Couture, Daniel Cormier, and Johnny Hendricks. 

Low Single Leg Takedown

During his career Smith was a master of many wrestling techniques but he is best known for his low single leg takedown- similar to the takedown MMA legend Sakuraba used in many of his fights.  In 1988, before Smiths last NCAA Championships, they noted " “The single-leg takedown is Smith’s signature move, and he performs it with the intensity and speed of a mongoose attacking a cobra.”


Check out “Wrestling for BJJ” by the hugely accomplished Hudson Taylor and you will see your grappling game increase by leaps and bounds.  Hudson is a former collegiate wrestling coach at Columbia University, as well as a multiple time NCAA All-American wrestling at University of Maryland, College Park.

 In this series, you will learn Taylor’s successful wrestling system which consist of techniques that will help the beginner grappler as well as the well-seasoned wrestler.  You will learn the drills, set ups, takedowns, and various defenses that made it possible for him to win the IBJJF worlds at blue belt after only 6 months of BJJ training. 



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