Logan Storley: From the mat to the cage

The former Gophers wrestler Logan Storley recently signed with Bellator MMA.

Senior Logan Storley wrestles against Illinois at the Sports Pavilion on Jan. 18.

Liam James Doyle

Senior Logan Storley wrestles against Illinois at the Sports Pavilion on Jan. 18.

Drew Cove

After four years as an All-American wrestler for Minnesota, Logan Storley is taking on a different fighting technique.

Storley signed with Bellator MMA in late June, and is prepping for his first match with the club on July 14. The 2015 Minnesota graduate will debut for the club at Bellator 181 at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

“[Signing with Bellator] made sense for right now,” Storley said. “They offered me some things the [Ultimate Fighting Championship] couldn’t offer me at this time in my career, and I had to do what was right for me financially and for this point in my career.”

While he is 5-0-0, Storley will face Kemmyelle Haley, whose record is 7-4-0.

“I’m excited,” Storley said. “I know where I’m at, and I know how much time I’ve put in, and I’m very confident heading into this fight, and there’s no doubt about it that I’m going to find a way to win one way or another.”

The plan had always been to fight, and Storley is now doing just that.

“When I first recruited [Storley], there was one thing we talked about. He had strong interests, as a high school kid, of fighting in MMA and that was one of his goals,” said Gophers head coach Brandon Eggum. “I know he had [done] a little bit of fighting while he was in high school in an event or two, so that has always been a passion of his.”

Compete, win, repeat

Storley is undefeated in his weight class, welterweight. He is listed as 170 pounds on mmafighting.com, close to his collegiate weight of 174. Eggum said Storley is a top-level competitor.

“When he wrestled for us, that’s the thing that you noticed about him, the bigger the match, the better he competed,” Eggum said.

Storley was the recipient of the team’s ‘Most Exciting Wrestler’ twice, and the ‘Most Courageous Wrestler’ once in his four years with Minnesota. Storley said his experience translated well to MMA.

“It’s not like that for everyone, but I knew what I wanted to do, and I wanted to fight,” Storley said. “It was definitely something that was on my mind the whole time, but, my style definitely has translated well into MMA.”

Storley credited the ‘hard-nosed’ style of wrestling and competition taught in the Gophers wrestling program that eased his transition to fighting in the MMA.

Talk about fight club

Former Gophers wrestler Brock Lesnar and Storley both attended the same high school in Webster, South Dakota, and a connection prevails despite their age difference.

“I’ve always wanted to compete in the MMA,” Storley said. “[Brock Lesnar went to] the University of Minnesota, and then he went into fighting… He set a good standard.”

The two fighters have been in contact, meeting with one another a few times a year, when Lesnar was able to attend some of Logan’s duals, Storley said.

“I’m on my own path,” Storley said. “I’m doing my own thing, but it’s definitely nice to have a guy like that. If [I] have any questions, he’s seen it all.”