Top 12 Pound-For-Pound: World's Best Freestyle Wrestlers
My "top 12 pound for pound" freestyle wrestlers in the worlds today. I didn't put a huge amount of effort into ranking these, so please debate.
#1: Besik Kudukhov, Russia. Very exciting wrestler to watch, 5x world medallist, 3x champ in 2 different weight classes. Very few losses. Has beaten a number of big name wrestlers repeatedly (Mansurov, Cejudo, Fedorishin) and pinned world champs Morandi and Velokov and Euro champ Open SAt.
#2: Khetag Gayzumov. He won everything this year (worlds, Euros, Grand Prix, world cup) and beat some of the best guys in the business in Gatsalov and Gayzumov. Very smooth and scores a lot of point, especially on top, for a big man. This is his first world title after clinch losses in his last two outings got him silver and bronze.
#3: Bilial Makhov. The most dominant wrestler on this list crushes pretty much everyone. Now has a marquee win over Taymazov.
#4: K. Gatsalov. Maybe up too high on this list, but he's a 5x world/Olympic champ with victories over #2 and #3. He's got to stop going to the clinch so much (and then losing) though.
#5: Denis Tsargush. He's a boring (until recently, anyway) and dirty wrestler, but he never seems to lose. Only think keeping him this low on the list is that 74 kg is a pretty cleared out weight class right now.
#6: Artur Taymazov. Loss to Makhov aside, an very dominant and athletic guy for a heavyweight. Got a huge pile of world and olympic medals on his wall.
#7: Sushil Kumar. Shows his olympic bronze was no fluke with this year's world title. Very smooth and technical wrestler, he's always a joy to watch. Hopefully he wins more gold medals soon.
#8: Georgi Gogchelidze. Consistently awesome wrestler screwed over by having one of the all time greats at his weight. Good pinner too.
#9: Victor Lebedev. I'm not convinced he is the best guy even at his own weight, but with Yang refusing to compete at worlds he gets the nod here.
#10: Vasil Fedorishin. If he retires now, will he be the best guy never to win the worlds/olympics ever?
#11: Garzon. Really frustrating guy to me personally. He's got incredible talent, but in between stupid mistakes and (allegedly) losing on purpose I don't think he will ever realize the potential he has to win multiple world titles.
#12: Mihail Ganev. This year's most surprising world champion makes the final spot. Also known for his comeback victory over the great Saitiev a few years back.
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