Bellator 218's Johnny Eblen Is Not Your Average Wrestler

Another Bellator MMA event, another blue-chip wrestling prospect ready to show the world he can fight.

Friday night, University of Missouri wrestling product Johnny Eblen (4-0) makes his promotional debut when he takes on Chauncey Foxworth at Bellator 218 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

During his time wrestling in college, Eblen never viewed fighting as a goal. Once his collegiate career came to an end, Eblen looked to enter the "real world" by getting a blue-collar job.

"It just kind of presented itself," Eblen told FloCombat. "I was always interested in fighting, but I didn't really know how to go about it. After my wrestling career, I was just focusing on my next career. I didn't know exactly what it was going to be. I ended up going to South Florida for a paving job. I was doing estimating."

While in Florida, Eblen would enter the realm of MMA through a human portal—renowned American Top Team wrestling coach Steve Mocco.

"When I was down there, I met up with Steve Mocco because we both coached high school wrestling down here," Eblen said. "I coached at American Heritage Delray, and he has a little camp at American Top Team—Mocco Wrestling.

"I ran into him one day when we were both coaching the same kid. We ended up wrestling, and he was like, 'Hey man, you're a great kid. You're pretty damn good and should come to the gym.' So, basically, he got me coming in the gym, and eventually, I quit my job and started fighting."

Johnny Eblen vs. Wayman Carter | SFC 308

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Following a three-fight amateur career, Eblen turned professional. The 185-pounder wrecked house at top Midwest regional promotion Shamrock FC, ending all four of his pro bouts in the first round.

The brief, dominant scraps caught the eyes of the Bellator MMA brass, who promptly offered Eblen a contract.

"I felt like it was a good choice," Eblen said. "They do like to find wrestlers. They give them decent fights to work them up. They're not just throwing them to the wolves [or] whatever. I just thought it was a good promotion to sign with—I like the way they do business."

Focused on his promotional debut, Eblen calls Foxworth his "toughest test to date." With that, Eblen believes he'll pass with flying colors.

"I think I have more tools in my tool belt, and that's going to be present in the fight," Eblen said. "I think you're going to see a finish."

Johnny Eblen vs. Tyler Lee | SFC 310 Replay

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Take your stereotypical vision of a wrestler inexperienced in mixed martial arts, and throw it out the window. Eblen comes to finish fights.

"I go in there to finish the fight as quickly as possible," Eblen said "You don't get paid by the minute, you get paid to show up and win. I show up and I'm trying to get out of the f*cking cage as quickly as possible.

"Obviously yeah, fans like finishes and promotions like finishes, so it works out well for everybody if I just go in there and finish the guy."

The 28-year-old middleweight says didn't climb aboard the Bellator MMA bandwagon to mess around. No surprise: He's going for gold.

"I signed with this promotion to become a world champion for Bellator," Eblen said. "Whether it's the end of this year, next year, whatever. I'm more just concentrating on each fight and each day of training camp. I just take it day-by-day and fight-by-fight. Wherever I go, I go."

Cody Stamann: No Respect For Champ Cejudo

Since capturing his fight title, and even more so after winning his second, Henry Cejudo has turned up the theatrics. From calling for a fight with Valentina Shevchenko to cringe-worthy videos promoting himself as “Triple C”, his push to get more attention for himself has certainly been successful. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Yana Kunitskaya + Cody Stamann

 Finally, the UFC has come back to us and the boys from Top Turtle have the content you’re looking for. 

Dominick Reyes Is Ready For Jon Jones

After 27 fights by which he is functionally still undefeated (yes, I realize he has a loss on his record), we’ve heard pretty much everything when it comes to why this challenger will be the one. Especially since he’s become champ, it seems like every challenger that pops up has something that fans who want to see Jones go down latch on to and others write off. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Dominick Reyes

This week was a big one for fight announcements, and Top Turtle might have one of the biggest guests when it comes to those announcements. 

High-Level MMA Card Set For XFN 26

XFN 26 is bringing an assorted card of mixed martial arts action this weekend live on FloCombat. 

3 Title Bouts Headline V3 Fights 77

V3 Fights is back with another installment of action this weekend on FloCombat.

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Featuring Paddy Pimblett + Christian Edwards

There may be no UFC card this weekend, but the boys from Top Turtle MMA never sleep.

Bellator's Christian Edwards Is Ready For Top 15 Guy

It may have been his second bout in the promotion, but the head kick KO finish by Christian Edwards at Bellator 223 was his introduction to a lot of fans. The kick went viral through the various chains of social media, appeared on ESPN and had every MMA pundit talking. 

Hand Injury Spells Long Suspension For Greg Hardy

When the UFC is out of the country, sometimes the governing bodies take a while to come out with their list of medical suspensions. In the case of October’s UFC Moscow event there was no governing body. So it's up to the UFC to hand down their suspensions internally with assistance from their medical team. 

James Krause: Never Felt LIke I Made It

James Krause enters UFC Sao Paulo on one of the most underrated win streaks in recent memory. In a streak that contains wins in arguably the two toughest divisions in MMA (lightweight and welterweight), Krause has pieced together 5-straight over a 4 year span.