FAQ: What Does It Mean to Be an “All-American” in College Wrestling?

With a lot of collegiate wrestlers now choosing to enter MMA, there is a lot of talk about their wrestling backgrounds and credentials.

The most common question is, what does it mean to be an All-American?

First, let’s look at the All-America designation in general:

An All-America team is an honorary sports team composed of outstanding amateur players – those considered the best players of a specific season for each team position – who in turn are given the honorific “All-America” and typically referred to as “All-American athletes” or simply “All-Americans”.

So the question is, what does a collegiate wrestler have to achieve to be an All-American?

A wrestler must place in the top 8 in his weight class at that year’s NCAA or NJCAA national championship tournament.

That means there are 8 All-Americans per weight class per year. With 10 NCAA weight classes, that means 80 NCAA All-Americans per year. So “NCAA All-American” status is good, but being an “NCAA National Champion” is much better.

Which MMA fighters are All-American wrestlers?

Quite a few MMA fighters have achieved All-American status. Here are some of them:

  • Johny Hendricks (2x NCAA Division I Champion, 4x All-American)
  • Ben Askren (2x NCAA DI Champion, 4x All-American)
  • Josh Koscheck (1x NCAA DI Champion, 4x All-American)
  • Phil Davis (1x NCAA DI Champion, 4x All-American)
  • Brock Lesnar (1x NCAA DI Champion, 2x All-American)
  • Chael Sonnen (1x NCAA DI All-American)
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