LOGAN RYAN LEAVES WRESTLING MAT FOR MMA CAGE

MINNESOTA — Logan Ryan is handing in his wrestling shoes for a pair of four-ounce gloves as the former collegiate wrestling standout gets ready to step into the MMA cage for the first time.

Ryan was born and raised on the wrestling mat. His father, Shawn, wrestled collegiately at Northwest Missouri State. Ryan’s older brother, Connor, competed for Iowa. Ryan was a two-time state champion in high school before taking his talents to Iowa and later Northern Iowa.

Ryan finished fifth as a junior at the Big 12 Championships before a series of unfortunate back injuries ended his career prematurely.

But for Ryan, his lifetime of experience grappling is just phase 1 of his plan. Now, he has his sights set on taking over the MMA world. Unlike some wrestlers who transitioned to the fight game, Ryan isn’t going to rely on his grappling prowess.

“I definitely consider myself a wrestling-based MMA fighter, but I’m more than comfortable wherever a fight may go,” Ryan says after a recent training session. “To get the win I could go out and use my wrestling and finish fights easily with my ground-and-pound. That’s not the plan at all; I can do it all. I’m a natural striker, I’m really athletic and aggressive as a grappler, and I love locking in submissions.”

Ryan’s highly anticipated MMA debut is set for Oct. 3, when he’ll step into the cage for the first time for North Star Combat at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn.

“I’m excited to put on a show and get things rolling,” Ryan says, smiling. “It’s going to be different, but I’m ready to rise to the occasion and everything will settle in nicely once the cage door locks.”

Ryan has high hopes beyond October.

“The plan is to get a couple fights under my belt, relocate to train fulltime at American Top Team in Florida and, from there, the sky’s the limit,” he says. “This isn’t an easy sport or an easy business, but I wouldn’t get in the cage if I didn’t believe I have what it takes to be a world champion.”

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