One of the hottest names on the MMA/wrestling free agency market is off the table.
Gable Steveson is signing a multi-year deal with the WWE, it was officially announced on Thursday. The wrestler shot to fame this summer with his incredible last-second win at the Tokyo Olympics over Geno Petriashvili in the heavyweight freestyle wrestling gold medal match. Since then, he’s been a main topic of discussion in the combat sports community.
The 21-year-old signed an NIL with the WWE, as he plans to go back to the University of Minnesota for his senior year. There, he will defend his heavyweight Division I national title before turning professional.
"I've been on WWE since I was really young," Steveson told ESPN. "I was on guys like Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman for a very long time. So growing up watching them, me being an entertainer on the wrestling mat, it just felt like it was the right choice."
Steveson had interest from both WWE and the UFC, but opted to go the professional wrestling route. Once he graduates in May, his multi-year deal with the WWE will begin.
Given Steveson’s relationship with UFC and WWE legend Brock Lesnar, it isn’t necessarily a surprising decision. A NCAA heavyweight national champion for the University of Minnesota himself, Lesnar first went to professional wrestling before going over to the UFC. He has made multiple switches between the two in his career, most recently making his comeback to WWE at the 2021 SummerSlam.
For now, Steveson’s focus returns to the collegiate wrestling mat. In his collegiate career, he already has secured a national championship, two Big Ten Conference championships, two All-American nods and a Dan Hodge Trophy, given to the country’s top collegiate wrestler.
It will only be a matter of time before Steveson is eyeing his first WWE belt.