It’s hard to overstate the influence wrestling has had on the development of Mixed Martial Arts. The annals are filled with records set by collegiate wrestlers and Olympians alike, with almost every major promotion sporting champions with legitimate wrestling backgrounds. Even now, the grappling art remains one of the most effective bases for any MMA skill set, and the evidence to back up that statement is not hard to find; there is a prolificacy of title holders the world over that have dominated some aspect of wrestling. The UFC, for example, boasts Miocic, Cormier, Woodley, Garbrandt and Demetrious Johnson amongst their title holders. Bellator has Phil Davis and Michael Chandler. ONE Championship, likewise, plays host to one of the best in the world in Ben Askren. It’s difficult, in fact, to conceive of a credible, top-level company who don’t promote an eminent former wrestler amongst their elite.
When a prospect emerges from the wrestling talent pool, then, it’s only natural that heads will be turned. That is exactly what we are seeing with former four-time NCAA Division I All American Logan ‘Storm’ Storley. Courting more and more attention from elite MMA circles, Storley has the kind of enviable record that has propelled many a fighter to stardom in the past, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Top-level wrestlers are not only extremely tough and durable athletes by nature, they also tend to be marketable stars – particularly in North America.
Storley, for his part, started wrestling at 5 years old, and told MMA Vanguard that he always enjoyed the one on one competition inherent in one of the most physically and mentally gruelling martial art forms. Becoming a four-time All American, naturally, isn’t easy. There are no short cuts. For Storley, success came by way of time spent in the practice room – and lots of it – as well as a mastery of the oft-maligned science behind weight cutting. Fortunately for Storley, such strenuous personal investments continue to repay themselves in spades.
At 5-0 in MMA, Storley might ordinarily be considered a rookie; but as previously touched upon, elite wrestlers remain highly sought after. It would be no surprise, then, to see Storley’s name linked with a major promotion at any time; though in truth, Storley already represents a great company in Legacy Fighting Alliance, having remained in the fold after his previous employers, Resurrection Fighting Alliance, merged with Legacy FC.
Still, Storley’s goal remains to become a world champion and go down as one of MMA’s all-time greats. A lofty ambition no doubt, but one made more likely thanks to his time at Michigan State University competing amongst the collegiate ranks for the Gophers. That opportunity allowed him to showcase his skills at the highest level in the NCAA, and has given him a huge headstart in MMA as well. This is, now, the sport that allows him to take care of the people that took care of him growing up, and for that Storley is grateful.
The results don’t hurt, mind. South Dakota native Bill Mees, a five-fight veteran, welcomed Storley to the sport in August of 2015. He lasted 2 minutes 32 seconds before succumbing to a TKO finish. Debutant Marc Hummel lasted slightly longer, despite being put on his back within seconds of their bout at RFA 43 three months later. Storley never looked like losing position as he pressured and terrorized Hummel with an airtight top game in a performance that culminated in a ground and pound finish from mount at 3:17. So far, so good for the South Dakota native who had switched to Gilbert, Arizona to train at Power MMA under the tutelage of Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson and CB Dollaway.
In March 2016, Lemetra Griffin stepped up with an uninspiring record of 1-4. He duly lasted 33 seconds before meeting the same fate, though the damage this time was inflicted on the feet. By this point, Storley needed a step up in competition, and he got it in the form of undefeated Cody Lincoln (3-0), a veteran re-emerging after a seven-year sabbatical. Storley’s takedowns and top control again took precedence, but Lincoln’s active guard and ground game posed more questions than had been previously asked. Lincoln, to his credit, survived the first stanza. He would not last long in the second, however.
Approaching Storley in a bid to cut off the cage, Lincoln walked straight into an enormous power right that floored him on impact. Storley swarmed on the ground, and the fight was done with just 13 seconds having elapsed. It almost felt like an apology to fans who had anticipated another first round finish!
Following the aforementioned merger that created Legacy Fighting Alliance, Storley would compete again, this time against 36 year old Andres Murray this past weekend. There was a familiarity to the result, yet another TKO, this time with just 73 seconds on the clock. If ever there was evidence that Storley was ready for a big opportunity, it was the manner and nature of yet another comprehensive stoppage victory.
Storley, like many wrestling greats, has the luxury of being able to focus attention on his stand up, in particular his hands, secure in the knowledge that his background lends him an ability to dictate the style and content of most fights. If he wants to take it to the ground, few can stop him; if he decides to contest a fight on the feet, again, few can impose a different strategy. How Storley performs against more highly-rated competition remains to be seen – but from what the MMA Vanguard has already witnessed, we would not be surprised to see Storley fighting at the highest level in the not-so-distant future. It’s not a question of ‘if’; it’s all about ‘when’.