Sit Down With Jordan Burroughs Before His Match With David Taylor
Dec 22, 2020
5X world and Olympic champ Jordan Burroughs opens up about his upcoming match with David Taylor, wrestling with the darkness, and the ‘sock pull’.
Full Interview Transcription:
Mike Mal (01:03):
All right. Jordan, if you could, tell me your name and let's start rattling off those accolades, shall we?
Jordan Burroughs (01:11):
My name's Jordan Burroughs. I'm an Olympic Gold medalist for the United States of America, at 74 kilograms. I'm a four-time World Champion. Three-time Bronze medalist. Two-time NCAA Champion. Three-time Big 12 Champion. New Jersey State Champion. South Jersey States Champion.
Mike Mal (01:27):
Oh, we're going there! I remember the South Jersey States. I do remember that.
Jordan Burroughs (01:33):
Oh, South Jersey States, bro. That was it. Absegami High School. That's where it was, man.
Mike Mal (01:37):
How was that Gami, that's right!
Jordan Burroughs (01:39):
Mike Mal (01:39):
Jordan Burroughs (01:40):
That's the big time.
Mike Mal (01:42):
That was big time back in the day, though-
Jordan Burroughs (01:44):
That's the big leagues right there, buddy. You win that? You're legit.
Mike Mal (01:46):
Jordan Burroughs (01:46):
But if you won it in Lakewood, that's when you were good.
Mike Mal (01:50):
That was the bus.
Jordan Burroughs (01:51):
That's it. Winning in South Jersey was solid, it was... I mean, I don't know what the comparison would be. It would be like Division II, but Lakewood was like, "We're studs." That's where all the kids from the entire state were.
Mike Mal (02:05):
Do you remember being in that gym for 16 hours-
Jordan Burroughs (02:08):
Mike Mal (02:08):
... at a-
Jordan Burroughs (02:08):
All day. All day, bro. I would leave. My dad would get me up in the morning. Get me in my sweatsuit. Pack my bag. We'd go to weigh-ins. He'd take me to McDonald's. We'd get like a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin. We'd go back, get ready, wrestle, five or six matches throughout the day. We wouldn't leave, literally, till 9:00 PM. We'd be eating pizza in the caf. Getting Airheads for a snack. Messing around at the singlet stands. Playing wallball in the hallways of the high school gym. And then we'd go and snag some pizza or something on the way home, some Wendy's. It was good times.
Mike Mal (02:45):
There were times where we were there till 11:00 PM.
Jordan Burroughs (02:48):
Mike Mal (02:48):
I can remember it. That was not terribly uncommon, you know?
Jordan Burroughs (02:53):
They were wild.
Mike Mal (02:53):
It was crazy. All right.
Speaker 1 (02:54):
Do me a favor and just scoot in a little bit more?
Mike Mal (02:54):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Good? Okay.
Jordan Burroughs (02:54):
Oh, let me check.
Speaker 1 (03:01):
Now is a good time.
Jordan Burroughs (03:05):
That woulda sucked.
Mike Mal (03:08):
Jordan, describe your personality.
Jordan Burroughs (03:12):
Yeah. If I had to describe my personality, I'd say I'm pretty low key, chill, even keeled, like unwaverable. I've always pretty... I don't get too excited. I don't get too down. I just kind of roll with the punches. Yeah, that's who I am.
Mike Mal (03:30):
Okay. How does your personality affect your wrestling?
Jordan Burroughs (03:37):
Yeah. I think my personality affects my wrestling because of that kind of balance, I'm always at a neutral state. So it's really hard to rattle me in matches. If I'm down, if I'm ahead? I stay focused on the task at hand. It's the next point, it's the next takedown. Getting my hand raised, and so I think that's what has helped me, because I have a really fast ability to forget. Whether I got taken down, thrown onto my back, beaten the last time I wrestled this guy? It's just like move on, separate my emotions from my performance, and just get the job done.
Mike Mal (04:12):
How did you learn how to do that? That's not easy to do.
Jordan Burroughs (04:15):
I think it's just who I am. Honestly, it's just my spirit. So it's the spirit of who I am. It's been ingrained in me from birth, that made me a wrestler that was always willing to put it on the line, and never take myself too seriously.
Mike Mal (04:30):
Okay. How would you describe your wrestling style?
Jordan Burroughs (04:34):
Yeah, if I could describe my wrestling style I would say explosiveness, precision, and determination. Or grit, yeah.
Mike Mal (04:45):
Why do you still wrestle?
Jordan Burroughs (04:48):
That's a good question. I still wrestle because I love it. I really love this. Unlike any other athlete that you see on the professional level, once they get a big deal, or a large contract, or have won over a period of time? They start to get complacent with where they are. They lose their zest for the process. I haven't lost it. Like I enjoy coming into the wrestling room and forcing myself into a position that is uncomfortable, and difficult to come out of, and it's going to take every part of me and my mentality to get through. I think that that challenge daily, what wrestling poses for me? Is really what keeps me coming back.
Jordan Burroughs (05:38):
And it's never been easy. It's always been a challenge. So, until I'm tech falling every opponent, in every single matchup? I feel like I always have something to get better at. There's always room for improvement. Like they're not glaringly evident anymore. They're really minute, the improvements that you make are sometimes not even visible to the untrained eye, but I think that because of that, it keeps me coming back. I mean, how good can I be? How sharp can I look? How much of a variety can I have in my attacks? How good can I be defensively? How much can I win? And because of all of those things? That's what keeps me motivated in the room.
Jordan Burroughs (06:21):
It's not about what I get out of it, how much money I make, where I get to travel to. If anyone's ever watched me train, like seriously been in the room with me at a training camp, at some sort of event, watching my preparation for an event? They'll tell you that I'm always the hardest worker in the room, 12 years in. I'm still the guy that's always going to be the one that's willing to put it on the line. That doesn't cut anyone any slack. And that's trying to win every single go, on every single day.
Mike Mal (06:51):
It's very uncommon for someone that has achieved as much as you have. And I don't think anyone else really realizes how much you really mean that.
Jordan Burroughs (07:05):
Mike Mal (07:06):
If you could tell someone that's maybe younger in the sport, who has had a third of the success that you've had, if you could give them, impart any wisdom on them, what would it be? To stay as motivated as you are.
Jordan Burroughs (07:30):
That's difficult. It's really hard to give someone motivation externally. You could point them in all these wrestlers, like "Here's what you can get out of it. Here's what it would mean. Here's what you'll get to become, and arrive at. Here's what your family will get to experience." But it has to be intrinsic. Like only an individual can decide what it means to them. And that's just personal accountability.
Jordan Burroughs (07:58):
I've had a great team of coaches throughout my life, that have inspired me to stay the course; to stay focused; to stay humble. I come from humble beginnings, from a place with no tradition, no history, no lineage. No one in my family wrestled. Parents didn't even play organized sports. But what I did know was... everything that my dad taught me was like principles. It was based on principles. Work hard. Be determined. Don't quit. Don't cry. When you lose, take it like a man, and move forward and push along. See if you can improve your fortune the next time.
Jordan Burroughs (08:30):
And so I think that if I had to give a piece of advice to a young athlete that was arriving at a place of prominence, and they wanted it to be sustained? I would question them, like "How bad do you really want this?" Everyone wants to be the champ. But very few people are willing to do what it takes to be the champ. Like consistently. It's the difference between a winner and a champion. A winner can do it once. A champion does it over a long period of time. And in order to do that, you have to be the guy that can focus on the process.
Jordan Burroughs (09:07):
And you've got to love it. You've got to love it. And even when you don't love it? You've got to just have enough commitment and discipline, to get through that time period where you don't love it. Right? Because it's not always fun. There's some days where I don't want to train. I don't want to practice. I don't want to skip a meal. I don't want to leave my family. I don't want to sit in the sauna. Don't want to get on the bike or put the sauna suit on. But, it's necessary. To get to everything that you desire to have? You've got to go through this uncomfortable phase.
Jordan Burroughs (09:34):
And I truly believe that I am who I am because of what I've experienced in this sport. It's really helped to kind of mold me and craft me into this individual that I can pretty much endure anything, because of what I've willingly put myself through, through the sport of wrestling.
Mike Mal (09:54):
People don't believe me when I say I can do just about anything-
Jordan Burroughs (10:00):
Mike Mal (10:00):
... for a certain amount of time.
Jordan Burroughs (10:02):
Anything. It's like, "I can do it."
Mike Mal (10:04):
Yeah. Just hold your breath, no problem.
Jordan Burroughs (10:05):
Like, it won't kill me. I can do it.
Mike Mal (10:07):
Jordan Burroughs (10:08):
I can do it. It'll be hard, yeah. It's going to suck. It might be really painful, but I can do it.
Mike Mal (10:14):
And that's from wrestling?
Jordan Burroughs (10:16):
That's from wrestling. I wasn't like... I was the youngest of four, bro. I was a small kid. I was the runt of the family. I wasn't like this extra confident little guy growing up. I was always a little timid, but I wanted to prove my worth through sports, because that's what my dad valued in our household, was athletics. We used to watch the Eagles' games every Sunday. We went to Sixers' games, Flyers' games, Phillies' games, back on the east coast. And so I knew that my dad loved sports. Every Sunday we'd be reading the Courier Post. He'd take me to the high school wrestling matches, to watch the rest of the guys in our town. And it was something that inspired me, because I knew that...
Jordan Burroughs (10:55):
I was a smart young man. I was intelligent. But I didn't consider myself particularly talented. I was small. I really desired to play football in the NFL, but there's no one in the NFL that weighed what I weighed, in high school. Let's put it that way. So I knew that this was my ticket to control my destiny. My dad would tell me every day, when he'd get up, put his boots on and go to work. He'd be like, "Listen. You have the ability to control your destiny. Work hard now, live the rest of your life the way you want to live it." And that stuck with me. And so every day when I go to the room, I'm like "I can control my destiny." Whether I get my hand raised, is solely up to me.
Jordan Burroughs (11:34):
I surround myself with good people. I put the work in. I believe. I'm confident. I'm prepared. I'm going to go out there and see what I can do. Wrestling is not like this arbitrary, subjective sport where there's judging, or you're put in this place where only the talented, or the uber rich, or the elite gets chosen or selected. You can come from anywhere. And you can arrive at this point. Yeah.
Mike Mal (12:13):
Who are you wrestling on January 9th?
Jordan Burroughs (12:15):
January 9th I'll be wrestling a familiar opponent, David Taylor.
Mike Mal (12:19):
Tell me about the way he wrestles.
Jordan Burroughs (12:22):
David's a beast, bro. He is someone that we mimic often here in our wrestling room. See this TV right here? We pull him up a lot. His matches with Yazdani. He is a guy that is... what he displays is what we would consider the American way.
Mike Mal (12:45):
Jordan Burroughs (12:45):
Determined. Pushes the pace. A variety of attacks. Great shape. Strong, fit, scrambles well. He's the guy. He's done a really good job at not only branding himself, but at just wrestling, period. He's succeeded at every single level, and it's because of his desire to be a champion.
Mike Mal (13:09):
If there's one thing that you could pick apart about his wrestling style?
Jordan Burroughs (13:14):
Like, that's not good?
Mike Mal (13:16):
Yeah, well if it's something that you think you can exploit, particularly?
Jordan Burroughs (13:22):
I just think I'm better. It's like there's... He's flawless. He's a flawless wrestler. But I just consider myself a better wrestler.
Mike Mal (13:38):
You're better offensively? You're better defensively?
Jordan Burroughs (13:41):
Mike Mal (13:43):
Or are we just talking all around?
Jordan Burroughs (13:45):
I think that we both have strengths in our particular nuances of the sport in which we cling to to get our hands raised. But I think athletically, I'm superior, and so that makes... when all else is equal, there are a few positions that I can exploit him, because I'm just a better athlete.
Mike Mal (14:07):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Last time you wrestled him... 2015?
Jordan Burroughs (14:13):
Mike Mal (14:14):
'14. In 2014, scored on you a couple times. Very Jordan Burroughs-esque. You come from behind-
Jordan Burroughs (14:24):
Mike Mal (14:25):
Win it in a very dramatic fashion.
Jordan Burroughs (14:26):
Cradled me a few times.
Mike Mal (14:27):
He did. He rolled you through on a couple of cradles. Are those positions something that you think about every once in a while, when you're in the room now?
Jordan Burroughs (14:35):
Yeah, I actually got into that position this morning. [inaudible 00:14:38] sweep single. Guy tried to cut the corner, draped over top, elbow deep behind my ankle for that cradle position. But I was able to... I've learned. I've learned there. Just knowing where to go with my hips, my head. Being more confident and knowing that... If like you go back and watch the video from the Open, the finals in 2014, like once I got to those positions, I just stopped and held on for the stalemate. And he continued to wrestle. I think just wrestling through the position, getting to a place that I'm comfortable. If there was short time on the clock, and I knew I had to score? I would have wrestled harder through those positions. But I thought that maybe if I stopped, he'd stop. Which, he obviously didn't.
Jordan Burroughs (15:18):
So yeah, he's got a big frame. We're not the same weight anymore. So not only is his frame larger, but he's heavier. And so I'm definitely going to have to figure out ways to deal with his length, but nothing that I'm unfamiliar with. I wrestle our big guys here: Eric Shultz, Taylor Venz, Mickey Labriola. I'm confident that I can figure out a way to adjust and adapt to whatever he throws at me.
Mike Mal (15:44):
Adaptation has been a hallmark of your wrestling, over the years.
Jordan Burroughs (15:52):
Mike Mal (15:53):
I've likened you to the Grateful Dead, in that you can always kind of evolve. When you first started out, it was very double-based.
Jordan Burroughs (16:04):
Mike Mal (16:04):
Right? And then you had to switch to a single leg, and then you had guys were wrestling you on one knee, so you were pulling... you know, just short offense. But it seems to me... and maybe I'm crazy... it's kind of come full circle.
Jordan Burroughs (16:16):
Yeah, it's coming back, for sure. It's coming back, because now it's less of the actual movement, and it's more pressure into ways that you can set a person, so you can get to where you're familiar. Wrestling is just a hustle to the positions that you're comfortable in. And so, if I can keep this guy constantly on edge and uncomfortable? Then I can get to the places that I essentially want to score. Like scoring may happen. He may score on me, but I think the advantage always lies on my side when the fur gets flying. So I if can create opportunities for myself... more wrestling? The better that favors me.
Jordan Burroughs (16:58):
So, shooting, attacking, movement, extending positions, trying to win scrambles, trying to be stingy. Efficient with my movement, so I can continue to maintain a certain pace for an entire six minutes. Doing all those things, I think is helpful.
Mike Mal (17:17):
Your last match against Zahid, he kept pace with you for about four minutes.
Jordan Burroughs (17:23):
Mike Mal (17:26):
Do you foresee David being able to keep that pace for six minutes?
Jordan Burroughs (17:31):
That's a good question. I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I've seen a lot of comments over the last few days about, "Okay, David's better than Zahid, but he also doesn't get tired. Like listen, everyone gets tired, right? That's a flawed mindset "This guy doesn't get tired." He gets tired. He just knows how to perform under stress, and under fatigue. But much like I do. You can't go back and watch any match where you're like, "Damn, JB lost because he was tired there." I am always going to be able to sustain a certain pace for the entirety of a match, no matter how big or how small an individual is.
Jordan Burroughs (18:04):
I pride myself on my conditioning, and being prepared to wrestle an entire six minutes. And David knows that. He's wrestled me in matches. He's wrestled me in training camp. No one's going to push me around, make me look bad, and wear me down so much that they're pretty much running behind me within a match. It's just not going to happen. So, whether I can wear him down or not? I don't know. I don't know. But his conditioning is not an advantage over mine. I don't think so at all.
Mike Mal (18:36):
You talk about priding yourself on conditioning. I've got to tell you, to me, a lot of it, a lot of your conditioning, it is not really physical. It is very much mental.
Jordan Burroughs (18:53):
Mike Mal (18:55):
I talked to... before your last match, before you wrestled Zahid, I talked to Mark Perry at length about your ability to be... you said, "unwavering." He said that you have a distinct ability to go to very dark places-
Jordan Burroughs (19:16):
Mike Mal (19:16):
... that people don't usually go to. Jordan, where does that come from, man? That's not... you're very at home in that darkness.
Jordan Burroughs (19:26):
Yeah. I don't know. It's maybe because I know the other person can't survive that. So I have to bring myself there. I'd rather bring myself to the dark place, then allow someone else to bring me there. Because when I do it voluntarily, then I know that I'm the only person with the mindset and the heart to survive there. So I have to continuously put myself in this position where I'm like, "Make it a fight. Put this guy in a place mentally where he hasn't been..." Regardless of who you are, there's no one in your room that can replicate me, whether it's from a wrestling perspective, a mindset perspective, a conditioning perspective...
Jordan Burroughs (20:13):
There's so many different elements, so yeah, you might have a guy to shoot doubles, but he doesn't have the conditioning that I have. You might have a guy that has great conditioning, but he doesn't have the prowess that I have. He's not as savvy. So, I just think that whatever I provide for a wrestling match is going to be difficult for you to replicate, until you actually feel it within a match.
Jordan Burroughs (20:35):
I also know that going into this dark place is something that's worked for me so often, that I go into every match like, "I'm going there. I'm going there. Because this is how I'm going to win." It came from my skills not being good enough. From when I first arrived on the World Team in 2011, and I realized that the only way I was going to beat Dennis Tsargush was to make him really tired. And it worked. And the only way I was going to beat Goudarzi and Gadzhiyev and Tsabolov, and all these guys that I've wrestled throughout my career, was to make them tired. And so, I had to go to the dark place, to give myself an opportunity to win. And it continued to work for me, so the more often it worked? The more willing I was to go there.
Jordan Burroughs (21:24):
And I trained it. I trained my mind and I trained my body. I just... I'm at ease when things are really stressful. When people are really tired? I'm at ease. And I know that this is the time. This is when I need to shoot now. I need to go now. This guy can't hold up here. And when they're thinking, "He's coming," I'm thinking, "You're damn right!"
Mike Mal (21:53):
But there's nothing they can do.
Jordan Burroughs (21:54):
There's nothing you can do about it.
Mike Mal (21:57):
Oh, my goodness. Okay, I want to talk about Sidakov. What have you learned from those two losses against Sidakov?
Jordan Burroughs (22:10):
Man, that bothers me every day. Every day. More than a Gadzhieyev match, in the Olympics in 2016. Sidakov losses have really bothered me, because of the vicinity of which I've been to victory, and the mental lapses that I've made, that have essentially cost me two World Championships... It bothers me. It bothers me. Sidakov's a great wrestler, a tremendous wrestler. He commits to wrestling his style for an entire six minutes. He is flexible. He's solid athletically. He has a great gas tank. And he believes. He believes. You watch him handle my leg in the last 10 seconds, in these last two years, he's going for it. And so that's what bothers me a little bit. Because I'm that guy. So, when someone does to me what I do to other people? It's a little frustrating.
Jordan Burroughs (23:22):
Because you look back at someone and you're typically like, "I could break this guy. I'm tougher and I'm stronger. I want it more." But now when I see Sidakov, I'm like, "Well, do I?" Now, it's not just about will anymore. Now there's technical improvements that I have to make within the contents of the match, in order to win. I can't just rely on my heart, because that's cost me twice. So, yeah, just making adjustments.
Mike Mal (23:53):
Jordan Burroughs (23:56):
Both. I think offensively. I'm not doing enough when I wrestle him. The first match, I actually wrestled, I thought, fairly well. Got caught late in the second match. Too much match management. Too much kind of hold position, and try to sting him when I have the opportunity. But that's not who I am. That's not what I represent. That's not how I wrestle. I could have won, but I didn't deserve to win. You get those wins where you get your hand raised, and you're like, "Whew, pulled that one off." But you know. You know. Every wrestler knows when you sneak one. And that would have been a sneak one, in the semi-finals this year. But I want to... I'm still waiting for that moment, that opportunity where I can just let it fly and wrestle. But I've always had him on the same day, right? And so, cutting weight, all in that first day wins? I want him in the finals, day two. Weigh in at 8:30. I've got all the way until 8:30 PM to-
Mike Mal (24:57):
Jordan Burroughs (24:57):
... rehydrate, replenish, feel big, feel strong, and feel good, where I can just... let it fly. Yeah.
Mike Mal (25:06):
Okay. He lost to [Zanatov 00:25:10].
Jordan Burroughs (25:10):
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I want that guy too.
Mike Mal (25:12):
Jordan Burroughs (25:12):
I do. Just because-
Mike Mal (25:14):
Who do you want more?
Jordan Burroughs (25:16):
I was Sidakov. I mean, beating this guy is just a consolation prize. He's a young champion and he'll scrap with Sidakov over the next few years. But they're just so deep there. They have him, they've got Sidakov. They've got [Zambalov 00:25:29], they've got Kurbanaliev. They've got Godsey. They're just so good there, so someone's going to make the team, and they're probably going to be a world champion. And he's the only guy that's not a world champion, but he beat the two-time reigning World Champion, so he's still a champion-
Mike Mal (25:44):
Jordan Burroughs (25:44):
... essentially. But I think I would prefer to have Sidakov, because I think would be more redemptive for me, and it would just mean more. Beating this kid, though? I mean, it would be cool. But I want Sidakov. Olympic Finals, Tokyo? Sidakov would be my dream scenario. Like there's no match that I would ever want more. Yeah, that'd be dope.
Mike Mal (26:08):
He did beat him. Sidakov did win in a practice match-
Jordan Burroughs (26:12):
Mike Mal (26:12):
... in training camp. You saw that?
Jordan Burroughs (26:13):
I missed the match, but I saw that you sent it over.
Mike Mal (26:16):
Yeah. He did it in very Jordan Burroughs' fashion.
Jordan Burroughs (26:22):
Yeah. What happened?
Mike Mal (26:25):
Jordan Burroughs (26:26):
Mike Mal (26:27):
And there was like four leg takedowns. They were going back and forth, and he scored last.
Jordan Burroughs (26:33):
Yeah, well that's... I think that if you watch his match that he lost to [Simbalov 00:26:37], everything went wrong. Right? Like the positions that he typically wins? He didn't. So he didn't really get out-wrestled, right? His conditioning still held up. He was still shooting late. He just... the positions that were dicey, and that were toss ups? He lost.
Mike Mal (26:57):
Tsabolov's tricky, though.
Jordan Burroughs (26:59):
Yeah. But will that happen again? Can he replicate those two situations where he was able to get those crotch lifts and those turns? Maybe. I don't know. But he's going to be hard pressed to do it again. We'll see. But I think I see Sidakov... I want the young guy, right? Because I think Sidakov's the better of the two. The young guy's style translates well. He stays back. He fakes a lot. There's no way this guy... he's not faster than me. He's not stronger than me. He's not more explosive. There's no way. Sidakov closes the gap, makes it tough on me. Right? Because he doesn't really give me space at all. So I have to constantly adjust, and be aware of the things that he does well. So, Sidakov is definitely the tougher of the two.
Mike Mal (27:50):
You said you know when you sneak one out.
Jordan Burroughs (27:52):
Mike Mal (27:52):
Who have you snuck one out against lately?
Jordan Burroughs (27:55):
Who have I snuck one out against? Well, David, back in 2014. I snuck that one out. I didn't deserve to win that one. Snuck the one out against Kyle here, match two of the trials. I was down late, like a 3-1. Got the takedown to the turn, and then the crazy crotch lift situation at the very end of the match. There's been a few times that I've... Imar here last year, match one. Yeah, I've got a couple of those.
Mike Mal (28:28):
When you know that you've snuck one out... maybe you do deserve, maybe you don't. You can rationalize that however you want in your head.
Jordan Burroughs (28:36):
That hurts the other guy. That hurts him. It hurts him bad, because usually when I have to sneak one, that means that they executed their plan to perfection. And that means I wrestled relatively poorly. Or at least in my mind. And they still couldn't win. Imagine if everything went perfectly, and you still lost! What does that do to your psyche? Because now, it's a three match series, instead of a two match series... if we're talking about the trials. And my third match is always my best match. Look at the spread in those two years that I've had to go three matches with Imar, and then with Dake. Look at the spread in that third match. Look how close the first two were. In Imar's match, I had to get the late takedown to win the first. Lost the second. And the third, I won like five or six. Then against Dake, 6-6 loss in the first. Won the second crazy. And the third one was like the same thing, like 6-1, 6-2 or something like that. It's-
Mike Mal (29:40):
Jordan Burroughs (29:41):
It is disheartening. It's disheartening, but it's reassuring for me, because I'm like, "That hurt them. Now, I've just got to go put the nail in the coffin," if I can. If I can.
Mike Mal (29:55):
Would you say you're a superstitious person, at all?
Jordan Burroughs (29:59):
I would. Yeah. I would say so, for sure.
Mike Mal (30:01):
What are some quirky superstitions that you have on match day?
Jordan Burroughs (30:07):
I'm very particular about the way I want my match day to go. It is something that I try to have as sown up as possible. It's like, "Listen. Here's what I'm wearing. I've already got my shoes, and my socks, and my singlet, and my underwear in line. Here's the food that I'm going to be eating. Here's how I'm going to be getting down to weight." Like anything that happens that day, kind of throws me off. It makes things a little bit more difficult for me, but I think that again, like I try to be adaptive and flexible to every situation. So sometimes I can just pretty much thrive in the chaos. But I have to prepare myself for it. Got to let myself know, "Hey, this is going to be a tough day. Let's go."
Jordan Burroughs (30:52):
But yeah, I'm superstitious. I like to have my playlist made the night before, so I can have the music that I want to listen to on the day of. I like to have a fresh pair of shoes that I've maybe only worn once or twice, that I got prepared for that day. I like to have singlets... like even let's say I wanted to... for the Zahid match. Because Zeke was my coat when I won the Olympics back in 2012, I was going to wear my Olympics singlet from London, to wrestle Zahid in. Because I'm like, "He helped me win in this thing, become the best in the world. I'm going to wear this this match." But then I'm like, "But damn, what if I lose in it? Then this thing loses its luster. I can't wear this. I'm just going to wear another singlet."
Mike Mal (31:37):
So that's the thought process?
Jordan Burroughs (31:40):
That's it. It's like trivial stuff like that. Right? So I'm like, "But if I lose in this, then my Olympics singlet gets tarnished, and then it will never have the same value again." So, like little stuff like that. But yeah, I consider myself superstitious, yeah. When it comes to match day? For sure.
Mike Mal (31:57):
Who is your biggest rival in this sport?
Jordan Burroughs (32:02):
Kyle Day, for sure. No question.
Mike Mal (32:05):
Jordan Burroughs (32:07):
That's a good question. I don't know. My wife, Lauren, asked me that the other day. She was like, "Why? Why do you respond to this guy? Why do you think about this guy? Why do you even allow him to disturb your piece at all?" And honestly? It motivates me. Like I make up stuff, so I can stay driven. Like I'm like, "Yeah, I don't like that guy. He said this to me." Or, "I don't like the way he looked at me. I don't like the way his coaches shook my hand before the match. I'm going to smash this dude." So like I make up thoughts, whether true or not, to stay intrinsically motivated, where I'm like "all right." When it's personal? I'm sharper. I really do think that. When I'm wrestling with aggression, and I'm mean? I think that's when I'm the best.
Mike Mal (33:06):
I agree. Can you put your finger on times when, maybe a freshman comes in this room, or maybe you get a guy that's younger, on the senior level, that you pop him once, and he looks at you like, "No, it's going to be that kind of party."
Jordan Burroughs (33:26):
Mike Mal (33:27):
Can you put your finger on maybe an instance that that happened?
Jordan Burroughs (33:33):
That's a good question.
Mike Mal (33:34):
Because I know Yiani-
Jordan Burroughs (33:35):
Mike Mal (33:35):
... has some great stories.
Jordan Burroughs (33:37):
Yeah, you know what? So typically here, before the NCAA Championships, they'll do simulation matches, getting the guys prepared. And they'll have either our varsity lineup grab other guys on the team... second and third guys... or they'll have them grab some of the RTC guys. But not me. They never put anyone with me, because they know that leading up to the NCAAs, they want these guys to be full of confidence. And they need them to wrestle a guy that they can execute their movements on, be sharp, feel good, beat up. And then head off to wherever the NCAAs are being held.
Mike Mal (34:14):
With a head of steam.
Jordan Burroughs (34:17):
With a head of steam, and they're like, "Let's go! You can do it." So they don't put them against me. They know, and they're like, "Hey, listen. Can you let this guy get a takedown? Maybe take it easy on them?" I'm like, "Absolutely not." Like if you want to build confidence? I'm not the guy. I'm not the guy to do it against." Don't put them against me, because I'm going to beat them up. Every single time. I'm going to shoot them out of bounds. I'm going to push them into the bleachers. I'm going to try to take them down as much as I can. It's just who I am. I don't have a switch. There's no switch there. And the switch has got to be... there is no switch. There's no switch.
Jordan Burroughs (34:55):
There's a particular way that I want to compete, and that's the way I want to train. So when I wrestle? I wrestle the way that I want to train. So I like when we're in the wall, and we're in the bleachers. It's the type of environment that I was molded in, so it's comfort for me.
Mike Mal (35:12):
It's very obvious. What are you thinking about when you pull those socks up?
Jordan Burroughs (35:21):
I actually... I pull my socks up because I want to look good. I'm going to be absolutely honest with you. I pull my socks up because I don't like my socks looking all crazy and disheveled. I want my socks to be perfectly aligned. So when I go out of balance, typically, it's after a takedown, or some sort of sequence. My ankle was grabbed. They got my socks down, looking silly. So, I pull them up. Kind of readjust them, just so they are even with the opposite side. But now it's become this thing.
Jordan Burroughs (35:50):
But it is. It's a reset point. It's a mental reset for me. Every time I go out of bounds, there's a break in the action? It's like okay, all right. So I'll take my time. I'll walk around the referee, walk around the guy. I'll try to push the guy to the opposite side. I'll adjust my socks. Right, like there's just little things that I do, in order to keep myself focused. So every reset is a time where I'm like, "Okay. You got that one. I'll be back." And it's just happened that the sock pull has kind of signified this moment where there's a flip in momentum, and now I've become the aggressor. I score a lot of points after the sock pull. It was like crazy. I did it against Zahid. It was like 4-0 at the time. And then it was 8-1 after the sock pull, which is wild. Wild.
Mike Mal (36:52):
Do things slow down in that time?
Jordan Burroughs (36:55):
Yes. It's a time warp. It's like being inside of a time machine. Like nothing around you matters. It's funny, at the last event, it was so eerily quiet inside of the room where it didn't feel real. There's no crowd noise. There's no music. And I can hear all of you guys. So, when I gave up a takedown, it was like, "Zahid Valencia with a beautiful duck under," and you're just like "Crap." And so it's a wild, wild thing, what's happening. But I'm trying to control my mind and stay composed, because I know that if I can stay disciplined and focused here? Good things will happen.
Jordan Burroughs (37:32):
I was tired in that match. I was tired too, but I knew, I'm like, "He's more tired. Body language. Get to the positions that you feel comfortable. Force him to shoot. Make him fatigued and make him start to think that you're not tired." It's psychological warfare out there. That guy doesn't know... only thing that he knows is what I display, and what I show him. So even if I am really tired? I'm not going to lead him on to believe that that's true. So, hustle back to the center. Win the body position. Wait for him in the circle. Use my hands. Use my feet. Use my ties. Re-shots, re-attacks. Get him to a place where he is like, "Damn, JB's not tired." Because that weighs heavily on his psyche. And then that's when the points will start to come.