My own wrestling experience wouldn’t have been the same, if it hadn’t been for the Hinman brothers…Dustin and Jordan. They were a lot of fun to have around. Extremely funny people. For two years straight they referred to me as “The Leopard King” because of a dorky little leopard singlet that resembles lingerie. We have them on VHS tape joking with me about that. Funny stuff. I remember the moment that I first saw Jordin wrestle. Jordin is a very animated and competitive person and he says what he feels when he feels it and what he thinks when he thinks it. He has been like that from the start. When competing, sometimes there was no filter with him (which was refreshing) and there was no exception for a referee that kept letting a kid that he was wrestling as a 2nd grader cheap shot him for an entire match at the Iron Dog Burlington Youth Tournament. I remember looking over at his mat because I heard a commotion from some fans and when I glanced over, 2nd grade Jordin was screaming, “he pulled my freaking hair!!!” And I thought, “wow…I thought I did see that in the corner of my eye.” A few seconds later, “he’s chinning my back!” And I shit you not, this kid he was wrestling was doing that undoubtedly…with one of those old headgears with the chin cups… That hurts like hell and is a cheap-shot. The ref (a HS-aged looking kid) still acted like he didn’t see it. About 15 seconds later, his opponent pinched him and Jordin looked at the ref and was like, “can’t you see this?” The ref blew him off. The kid was clearly pinching him. The Hinman corner was becoming pretty irate at this point and for good reason. Hinman and this little dirtball he was wrestling against got to their feet and the kid smacked Jordin across the head and Jordin looked at the ref and said, “screw this,” and he lost his temper with the kid finally and launched the kid on his back. The ref stopped it immediately and awarded the other kid a point for unsportsmanlike on Jordin’s behalf since he said, “screw this.” It was the worst job of officiating that I had ever seen in my entire life. I thought a woman who I believe was Jordin’s mom was gonna strangle the ref and the opponent. For whatever reason, this ref had something against Jordin and to this day, I would love to see this ref and Jordin in the Octagon together for an MMA fight because I’d love to watch Jordin kick his ass. Because that’s something Jordin does well…he is good at kicking people’s asses. He is a very successful fighter and coach on the MMA scene these days and wrestling was a prerequisite for this.
Wrestlers are limited in terms of how they can actually make money playing the sport that they love. Which is odd… baseball, basketball, football, etc. players make millions… Why is state wrestling in Iowa the most attended state event BY FAR if there is no appeal for the sport to maintain a pro league? Because it hasn’t been done correctly…that’s why. So wrestlers have to settle for being club coaches and MMA fighters if they have a desire using their wrestling knowledge to make money. This is the route Jordin has taken and he is very, very good at it. One of his nicknames is “Skeletor.” I have also heard him referred to as “The Henchman.” One of the most badass nicknames that someone can have. The dude has maintained and improved his self-discipline and hard work since he entered the MMA scene. He is chiseled. I am 37 years old and sometimes wonder if I am beginning to resemble the Michelin Man a little too much these days. Jordin is just a few years younger than me and looks like he has a 14 pack. He obviously trains hard. When I see Jordin, I am always reminded of how far I have let myself go, while motivated individuals like Jordin just keep rolling with the punches. It is pretty inspirational, really… and it makes me very happy that he is relaying the knowledge, tactics, philosophies and techniques to my 2 youngest brothers, Shea and Brennan who train in his club. They have been making some nice gains in the field of MMA in terms of fighting, yes, but also formulating a family atmosphere that has common values of respect, fun and self-discipline. Please get to know Jordin Hinman… Great guy. I was around him a lot and as mentioned, he was always very animated, funny and sometimes plain wild, but I tell you what, if he considered you a friend and saw that you needed help with something, it is his “knee-jerk” reaction to drop what he’s doing and help you. It has been so cool to watch him grow into the actively positive role model that he has become. He has likely saved a life or two by giving people something to be part of opposed to something that would be self-destructive that they would have been part of had they not found MMA in his club. A lot of these MMA club coaches have and they deserve more credit for that than they are typically given. Not very many people can say that they have had such influence.
I am going to increase articles on my site of MMA fighters, for wrestling and MMA go hand-in-hand.
What clubs, schools, etc. did you wrestle for?
I started wrestling at about 6 years old and I started in Keokuk, IA then we moved to Fort Madison, IA where I wrestled through my sophomore year.
What year did you graduate?
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My mom was the one that introduced me to wrestling. I thought I was going to be Ravishing Rick Rude or Jake The Snake Roberts.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
I have two older brothers that wrestled a tad bit but not quite as extensive as my tenure. My son, who is 9, wrestles. He started getting exposure at 5 years old. He wrestles hard and usually has a good attitude, I like that.
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
I was decent as a youth wrestler. Pretty aggressive and hard to beat. I got a lot of pins and rarely got pinned. The one name that sticks out most to me is Justin Swafford. He was so talented. I always wanted to beat him but I never got close haha. If you know who he is then I’m sure you can understand why.
What was your record in HS?
I can’t recall my HS career. I was making poor choices and wasted all the years I had put into it.
How did you place at state every year?
I hadn’t placed at state. I had knee surgery my freshman year and then quit my sophomore year.
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling and how did it turn out?
I tried to treat every match the same. Each one is just as important as the last or the next. I wrestled because I liked to win at the best sport in the world.
How would you describe your wrestling style?
I would say I was pretty scrappy. Like spaghetti too. I could usually get off my back if I ever got there.
How many guys in high school did you go back and forth with or exchange wins with?
I wish I had those moments.
Who was your most influential coach?
Coach Mike Riley (some of you probably know that name) in my Middle School years. He knew I was pretty ornery but he did a good job of motivating me and keeping me on track.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
Fort Madison is always competitive. Coach Ryan Smith has always done good things there.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
Nick Flach, Jason Crooks, and Dan Almeida were some studs when I was a boy.
Who would you consider the GOAT Iowa HS wrestler?
Nick Flach. He was the man.
Who are your favorite current wrestlers?
I like J’den Cox. That guy is so good. JB of course and I like watching PD3 scrap out there.
What music would you listen to back in the wrestling days?
Same as today, a lil bit of everything.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
They’re all pretty much the same. I don’t like losing at anything.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Just listen. When you think you know it all then it makes for a much harder road.
What was your best wrestling memory or accomplishment?
Best memories would just be from the youth days when you didn’t have anything to stress you out. Nothing like a little Mnt. Dew and running the hallways with all of your wrestling friends you make!
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
I played sports year round so it was seasonal. I wrestled year round now though.
How would the guys from your day stack up against the guys today?
That’s an interesting question. Not much has changed wrestling wise. Maybe a handful of newer moves but we all know that the good guys stick to the basics and the basics is what get ya Ws. I’d say the guys nowadays have better access to weight programming and training but guys from my day I think were tougher because we were old school and hard nosed at everything.
Did you wrestle after high school?
Not until I got into MMA.
What other sports did you play?
I played football, baseball, and ran track.
Who gave you the nickname “Skeletor?”
Lol, I really wouldn’t say it’s a nickname. More so something I get called when cutting weight. My cheek bones are high and the weight leaves my face first. Plus I’m tall and skinny. I guess an evil mofo too haha.
How often do you implement wrestling into your MMA training?
A lot. If I can get my hands on you you’re usually going for a ride. Definitely helps me with top control and pounding out opponents.
What are your MMA accomplishments?
I had a few amateur championships and defended them successfully as well. As a professional I have knocked out or submitted every person I have a victory over. All of them in the first round besides one.
Do you feel your life would be different today if you hadn’t been introduced to wrestling and MMA?
Most definitely. I feel it’s every man’s obligation to himself, his family and society to know some sort of combat. Not to mention the peace it brings. I hear people talk about being peaceful but they don’t do anything combat wise. To me that just means you’re harmless. The guy that can rip your head off but chooses not to is the peaceful one. I’d rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Is there anything you would change with the current climate of MMA or wrestling?
I wish there was a better professional opportunity for wrestlers and that mixed martial artist got paid what they deserve.
How proud are you of your Fort Madison wrestling roots?
Super proud. I love the Red and Black pack. Coach Ryan Smith has been producing great young men for years.
How proud does it make you to give back to MMA and wrestling and observe people making strides with your tutelage?
That’s my favorite part. It’s very satisfying to pass knowledge. Pretty selfish if you horde information that could help someone.
Will your kids wrestle?
My son does now and my daughter says she wants to. She’s 5 and she’s pretty strong and athletic but if she starts getting on the losing end idk how she’d handle it. She’s tough but still a little girl and is sensitive. Some good ol wrestling would probably help her out though.
What are some of the past and present MMA clubs you have sparred with and represented?
Team Conflict was the original. Derek Doherty is a guy I grew up wrestling with and we actually practiced at the FM High School. Another good wrestler, Ryne Vincent, got a hold of me when I moved back to town and let me know they had something going on. I’ve never looked back.
What are your favorite sports teams?
Iowa Hawkeyes, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago White Sox, and the Las Vegas Raiders (going to be weird saying)
What are your hobbies other than wrestling?
Anything that has to do with scrapping. MMA, jiu jitsu, boxing, etc.
How good does it make you feel to give back to the sport?
One of my favorite parts is teaching/coaching others. It’s very humbling to have people or kids believe in what you’re saying and then put it to use in their own ways.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Wrestling gave me the principles I use and share with my family. We work hard and get what we earn, not what we think we deserve.
What do you do now?
I trim and remove trees for the City of Burlington.
Are you still involved with wrestling?
Yep, I coach the Burlington youth wrestling program and have done so for the passed couple of years.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
Listen and be disciplined. Doing what’s right instead of what you want will get you what you want in life. Everything doesn’t have to be “right now”. Just quiet your voice, open your ears, buckle up and hold on because it’s a wild ride.
Any chance we see you wrestle again at an Old Timer’s tournament?
I’ve thought about Corn Cob Nationals and the Pickford tournament. Definitely something I am interested in.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
Not personally but I would like to thank everyone that I have met along the way. Everyone that coached me and believed in me. Definitely my MMA coaches and teammates for working hard and grinding with me. It’s singles competition but you can’t be successful without the help of great people.