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Penn State Wrestling: Carter Starocci Breaks Down Possible UFC Opponents

Carter Starocci, Penn State Wrestling
Photo by NCAA: Carter Starocci

It’s not a given yet that PSU 174-pounder Carter Starocci will return for a shot at his fourth national championship next season,but he want to be a UFC fighter at some point, and that’s for sure. He may choose to compete in the Olympics next summer before hitting the octagon.

Starocci already has some choice words about some UFC stars right now. He was recently was critical of Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, and Khamzat Chimaev.

Covington, who has a career record of 17-3 in UFC, was a NCAA Division I All-American and a two-time PAC-10 champion in his time at Oregon State. Covington heavily utilizes wrestling in UFC.

That doesn’t bother Starocci.

“I think I would want to put the wrestlers away early just to show everybody that they’re getting beat by these wrestlers that aren’t even good wrestlers,” Starocci told “Give me Colby Covington right away because he’s another piss poor wrestler and his hands are very average. That’s another wrestling match that would be pretty easy.”

Usman (20-3) was a Division II national champion at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Starocci mentioned Usman’s loss to Leon Edwards last summer.

“I think Leon Edwards pretty much took the dog out of him, but I think his wrestling is very average, too,” Starocci said. “His hands seem pretty heavy but he’s not very technical. They kind of run their patterns over and over again, and they’re not new movements, so I think they’re too predictable.”

Starocci also took an apparent shot at Usman after his national title win last month.

Starocci talked about Edwards, too. Edwards (21-3-1) is the current UFC Welterweight champion after beating Usman.

“Leon Edwards is the champ and I’d take the belt from him if he’s still the champ,” said Starocci.

Gaethje (24-4) was another All-American while in collegiate wrestling out of Northern Colorado. He’s also held the UFC Lightweight title on an interim basis before.

Starocci thinks Gaethje would be an “easy fight.”

“He’s a guy that wants to just come at you and brawl and come at you with his punches,” Starocci said. “His wrestling is very poor so I believe I can pick him apart on the feet, and once I decide to grapple and wrestle, that’s when the fight would end. He can’t compete at a high level. You saw his wrestling career when he competed D-1. It was not great. His shot selection, he just closes his eyes and shoots overhands and hopes for the best. I don’t think that would be a competitive fight, to be honest.”

Chandler is 23-8 over a 14-year career in UFC. He was a lightweight champion in Bellator, but has never won a title in UFC.

“I believe Michael Chandler All-American-ed once and he took eighth place,” Starocci said. “I could do that when I was in grade school. That’s a participation medal.”

Chimaev is still undefeated at 12-0 in his career. He also went undefeated in a freestyle wrestling career in his home country of Sweden.

Starocci isn’t impressed, and feels another Penn State wrestling great could beat him.

“Khamzat Chimaev is talking the talk but he’s from Sweden and he thinks he’s this good wrestler but he can’t even make the weight,” Starocci said. “I think Bo (Nickal) will take care of that.”

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