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Post Olympic Pound-For-Pound Rankings

Post Olympic Pound-For-Pound Rankings
Photo: © Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Before the Olympics, we put out our Top 20 pound-for-pound men's freestyle wrestlers in the world. Now that the dust has settled, let's revisit that idea and give it one more try.

20. Rei Higuchi (JPN) - He beat two guys on the last P4P list, as well as a 2014 world champ, in his run to the finals. Earlier this year, he beat two-time world medalist Vladimir Dubov and Asian championships medalist Rahul Aware. The kid had a phenomenal run in 2016, and if not for a late shot clock point he allowed against Khinchegashvili, would have had an undefeated 2016 and a gold medal around his neck.  

19. J'Den Cox (USA) - It's become apparent that a) 86kg is really deep and b) Cox is really good at wrestling. Wins over Karimi and Salas Perez, as well as being within an eyelash of taking out 3x world medalist Yasar, nails home the point that Cox is a legit freestyler.

Cox beats Karimi at World Cup


18.
Sharif Sharifov (AZE) - Consecutive Olympic medals, a demolition of Reza Yazdani last year at the World Cup, and the fact that he can't crack the 97kg lineup due to Gazyumov are all the reasons we need for Sharifov  to make this list.

17. Ikhtiyor Navruzov (UZB) - Regardless of the circumstances, Navruzov won medals two years in a row, one of them with a pin over Ramonov. Combine that with a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games and it becomes clear this guy shows up for the big tournaments.

16. Selim Yasar (TUR) - He has gone bronze, silver, silver over the past three years, but he could be higher if not for some odd losses and underwhelming victories.

15. Geno Petriashvili (GEO) - On the one hand, he beat Akgul in March. On the other hand, he lost to Ghasemi, who besides the Olympics had an otherwise subpar year. Ultimately, he won medals three out of the four years this quad at both the world and continental level.

14. Frank Chamizo (ITA) - There are few better all around wrestlers in the world. He was perhaps the most difficult guy to rank post-Rio, but after re-watching all three of his matches with Asgarov this seems appropriate. Also, the world needs more Chamizo/Asgarov matches.

Chamizo/Asgarov round two


13.
Toghrul Asgarov (AZE) - Before the Olympics, I had Chamizo 5th in my P4P. Yes, Asgarov doesn't have the greatest regular seasons. But when it comes time to wrestle the best in the world, he shows up. His 2-1 record against Chamizo (and you could argue the loss he had him pinned) goes a long way to him being thirteenth.

12. Shamil Kudiyamagomedov (RUS) - When you realize how good Sadulaev is, and you see how inconsistent the supposed second best at 86kg is, it's not outlandish to have Kudiya this high. He beat Aldatov (who beat Yasar) 

11. Hassan Rahimi (IRI) - One of only three men's freestylers to medal each world meet of the quad. He won in 2013, then went bronze and silver at the next two world championships. He pinned Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (CUB) in the bronze medal match last week.

10. Khetag Gazyumov (AZE) - The next men's freestyler to medal four years in a row finally made an Olympic final. Though he lost, his eight medals in nine years is the kind of consistency you like to see out of a Top 10 pound-for-pound guy.

9. Jordan Burroughs (USA) - It seems odd to have him fall this far, but he has too many accolades to drop him out of the Top 10. 

8. Aniuar Geduev (RUS) - Many people felt the Russian was top 5 pound-for-pound after last year's worlds. The interesting thing will be seeing how he does moving up to 86kg.

7. Haji Aliyev (AZE) - He lost to Khinchegashvili again, but did nothing to hurt his stock. He will be happy to have 61kg back in 2017.

Haji Aliyev wins Golden Grand Prix


6. Hassan Yazdani Charati (IRI) - Perhaps the most surprising of the six Olympic champs, but if you include juniors has made three straight world finals, winning two of them.

5. Kyle Snyder (USA) - Joins Khinchegashvli, Sadulaev and Akgul as repeat champs from a year ago. He peaked at the right time after taking four international losses since January. Including juniors, he went gold, bronze, gold, gold this quad.  Here's hoping we see that Sadulaev matchup.
 
Kyle Snyder makes history


4.
Vladimer Khinchegashvili (GEO) - He picked up another win over Aliyev, but the circumstances of his finals match as well as the performance of Ramonov keep him sitting fourth. The glaring loss on his resume is a 10-0 loss to Akhmed Chakaev at the Alrosa Cup in November.

3. Soslan Ramonov (RUS) - This man would have been the OW if they handed out such things. It became apparent his loss to Navruzov last year was a fluke and avenged that with an 18-7 shellacking in the semis. He has blown through the field in his two world/Olympic titles, while both of Khinchegashvili's finals came down to the last seconds.

Ramonov techs his way to a world title in 2014


2.
Taha Akgul (TUR) - He was number three on the list prior to the Olympics, and he joined Sadulaev as the only wrestler to win two straight world titles followed by a gold in Rio. Along with Rahimi and Gazyumov was one of only three wrestlers to medal four straight years, during which time he only has two losses.

1. Abdulrashid Sadulaev (RUS) - He is the only wrestler in the world who has not lost since the weight class changes in 2014, and all he did last week was win his first Olympic gold medal. He is the most efficient wrestler in the world and with Burroughs loss is your unquestioned No. 1 pound-for-pound.
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