In Historic Win, Jordan Burroughs Claims Fifth Wrestling World Title

by Karen Price

Jordan Burroughs celebrates after winning against Mohammad Nokhodilarimi (Iran) in the 79 kg. final at the 2021 World Wrestling Championships on Oct. 4, 2021 in Oslo, Norway.


Jordan Burroughs wrote on social media just days after failing to make the 2020 Olympic team that this wasn’t the end for him.
He was right.
On Monday, Burroughs captured his fifth wrestling world title. When added to his 2012 Olympic gold medal, the 33-year-old from Sicklerville, New Jersey, joined John Smith, who won two Olympic and four world titles, in the records book as the most successful wrestlers in U.S. history. 
Burroughs wasn’t the only U.S. wrestler to earn a podium spot, either. Olympic bronze medalist Thomas Gilman won his first world title and J’den Cox took bronze as Team USA continued its strong showing in men’s freestyle at the World Wrestling Championships in Oslo, Norway. 
Burroughs faced Mohammad Ashghar Nokhodilarimi of Iran for gold in the 79 kg. class and took a 1-0 lead on a shot clock point. That’s where the score remained at the break, and after both athletes stepped back on the mat Burroughs scored on a double leg takedown for a 3-0 lead. For the second time in the match, they had to pause for blood on Nokhodilarimi, 20, with just over a minute and a half remaining, and Burroughs was like a shark. He scored another double, and although Nokhodilarimi was able to squeak in a point before the match ended it wasn’t nearly enough. 
This is Burroughs’ first title since 2017, when he won the world championship for the fourth time, and his first ever at 79 kg. He also has three world bronze medals, and in 10 Olympic or world championships appearances he’s failed to medal only once, in Rio in 2016. 
Burroughs lost to Kyle Dake in the 74 kg. class at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the spring. Dake went on to capture Olympic bronze and won his third world title on Sunday. 
Gilman, 27, was up against Iran’s Alireza Sarlak for the 57 kg. title and also took a 1-0 lead on a shot clock point. A takedown gave him a 3-0 lead going into the break, then he scored another two with just over a minute left in the match. Sarlak scored the next three points, but when the clock wound down it was Gilman with a 5-3 victory. The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native previously won a silver medal at the world championships in 2017. 
Cox, 26, battled Ukraine’s Andrii Vlasov for bronze at 92 kg. and took a 2-0 lead into the break. A feet-to-back takedown earned him four points and a 7-0 lead with a minute remaining, but Cox wasn’t done yet. A takedown and a turn made it 11-0 for the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist from Columbia, Missouri. 
The tournament continues on Tuesday with the conclusion of the men’s freestyle — including one doozy of a rematch — and the beginning of the women’s freestyle medal matches. Kyle Snyder will once again face rival Abdulrashid Sadulaev, the reigning Olympic gold medalist from Russia, for the 97 kg. title, while Kayla Miracle will wrestle Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova in the women’s 62 kg. final. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.