Having mixed martial arts becoming more and more popular means more and more athletes who begin as boxers or wrestlers want to become MMA fighters. Sometimes, they know they want to get into MMA while they're still in high school. That's the case with Mansur Abdul-Malik, a 15-year-old wrestler in Laurel, Md. who's being homeschooled by his parents.
Abdul-Malik qualified for the 2013 Maryland National Team, according to the article, and is quoted as saying he wants to win an Olympic gold medal for wrestling and become a champion in the Ultimate Fighting Champion. Other Olympic wrestlers have found great success in the UFC, including Randy Couture, Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier. So if Abdul-Malik realizes his dreams, he will be in great company.
The article also states that Abdul-Malik trains with Team Ground Control in Columbia. Team Ground Control is the backbone of the annual Shogun Fights card in Baltimore, so training with MMA fighters who compete on some of the biggest local stages is a good way for an aspiring fighter to learn the tricks of the trade.
Competing in MMA isn't a full-time gig and the risk of failure is fairly high, as it is when trying to pursue a career in any professional sport. But if you're as talented as Abdul-Malik appears to be and you keep your eyes on the prize, the sky is the limit.