Wrestler Yianni Diakomihalis 4x NCAA Champ Gunning For Olympic Gold ... MMA In Future? Maybe!
3/25/2023 12:15 AM PT
Yianni Diakomihalis, 4x NCAA Freestyle Wrestling National Champion, tells TMZ Sports there's a distinct possibility he gets into MMA ... BUT, not before he makes a run at the United States Olympic team, where he's gunning for gold!
23-year-old Diakomihalis is without exaggeration one of the most decorated collegiate wrestlers of all time, becoming just the fifth competitor to win the title four times. The question now has become ... what's next?
"It's a super time, right, coming off a really big milestone in my life and now I have a lot of opportunities presented to me. Obviously, for me, that ultimate goal of being Olympic champ is right in front of me. That's the big thing on my mind right now," Yianni told us.
Diakomihalis continued, explaining the personal importance of the Olympics.
"It's been my dream since I was a little kid like that, and it's something that I don't think I could turn away from and go compete in something else."
FYI, Yianni won the NCAA title at 141 lbs. in 2018 and 2019. After a redshirt season, he won the title at 149 lbs. in 2022 and 2023.
The next Summer Games are in 2024 in France ... where Yianni hopes he'll represent the USA.
We asked him if he was considering transitioning to MMA after the 2024 Games.
"I got a ton of respect for a guy who makes a living getting in there and getting punched in the face. That's an incredibly difficult and tough thing to do. It's one of those things that sounds super cool, sounds like it would be fun to try. I can't imagine not pursuing [the Olympics]. Who knows what's gonna happen in the future, what might change, but right now that's what's really at the forefront of my mind."
Of course, we've seen uber-successful wrestlers like Henry Cejudo (Olympic gold medal winner), Bo Nickal (3x NCAA champ), and others who have successfully transitioned from wrestling to MMA. On the other hand, a wrestling star like Jordan Burroughs opted to never take a punch or kick to the face in a cage.
We also talked to the 4x champ, politics aside, about President Donald Trump attending the NCAA Finals ... and YD believes it's a big plus for the sport, as it's bringing new eyeballs to freestyle wrestling.
Only 490 days until Opening Ceremony ... and you know where Yianni plans to be that day! 🥇