USA Wrestling

Jan 29 World champion Joe Warren back on the mat ready to make run at Olympics

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Jan. 29, 2011, 7:27 p.m. (ET)
Joe Warren wins the 2006 U.S. World Team Trials. Larry Slater photo.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Joe Warren has quickly made his mark in the world of mixed martial arts.

He is the reigning Bellator world featherweight champion, earning a six-figure paycheck after knocking out Joe Soto to win the 145-pound title last September.

Even with all his success in MMA, Warren still has goals he wants to achieve in wrestling.

That's why he's moved back to the U.S. Olympic Training Center and is practicing twice a day with the American Greco-Roman wrestling team.

A 2006 World champion, Warren is scheduled to compete in the Kiki Cup on Saturday at the OTC. He plans to wrestle in the Dave Schultz Memorial International the following weekend. He will drop back down to 60 kg/132 lbs.

"I believe I'm still the baddest man on the planet and I believe I can win the Olympics" he said. "I would've won the Olympics in 2008 and I'm coming back to win the Olympic gold medal in 2012. I know I can get it done."

The 34-year-old Warren was unable to compete at the 2008 Olympics because of a two-year suspension.

Warren is back wrestling for the New York Athletic Club.

"Everything is going really well" Warren said. "I haven't wrestled Greco in a while, so there is a learning curve. I'm taking it one day and one step at a time. I'm getting better every day."

Warren came back briefly last year, wrestling two matches in the Kit Carson Cup in Colorado Springs. Those were his first matches since 2007.

"Joe Warren has stated that he is committed to 'go for it' for the next 20 months" U.S. National Coach Steve Fraser said. "If Joe can stay focused on Greco and continues to train like he has been, I think he will make a big impact on our team. He has some very tough American opponents that he will be fighting it out with to make the Olympic Team. I think Joe undoubtedly has the potential to be best in the World again. Any way you look at it - Joe's return - is a great thing for our Olympic effort."

Warren plans to compete in an upcoming Greco-Roman tournament in Hungary as well.

"I'm stronger and faster, and I'm smarter now" he said. "I feel great. I've never had any injuries and my body feels good. I won't be outworked by anybody."

Warren and his wife, Christy, also are busy raising two young children.

Warren plans to make a run at making the 2011 U.S. World Team. He also plans to continue competing in mixed martial arts, with possible fights after the U.S. Open and U.S. World Team Trials.

He plans to move down to the 135-pound class as he pursues another Bellator world title. He has a 6-1 record in mixed martial arts.

"Right now, all of my focus is on wrestling" he said. "I need to be in the room every day. I know I can be unstoppable again. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it."