Things I know, and things I think I know:

Jordan Burroughs obviously is driven by his desire to win another Olympic gold medal in 2020. But he shared something Tuesday that looms in the back of his mind as his wrestling career enters its final stages.

Hint: UFC fans will be interested in his comments.

Burroughs, who turns 31 next month, appeared on 93.7 FM's "Early Break" to talk about the Final X competition Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center. During the course of the discussion, multiple listeners texted the show wondering whether Burroughs would consider mixed martial arts -- specifically, a UFC career -- when he finishes wrestling.

"I've considered it," said Burroughs, noting the resounding success of 32-year-old Henry Cejudo, who won gold in the 2008 Olympics in freestyle wrestling and now is the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship titlist in both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions.

Some consider Cejudo to be the best combat-sport athlete in history. He's the only Olympic gold-medal wrestler to become a UFC champion.

It's very easy to imagine Burroughs becoming the second to accomplish the feat, if he so desires.

"The art form of wrestling is more appealing to me than the MMA lifestyle," said Burroughs, a four-time world champion after capturing two NCAA championships at Nebraska. "I don't really want to get punched in the face or kicked in the head. I watch these guys take a beating, which is relatively brutal. But I also watch a lot of guys that I've competed with, against or trained with go on to compete at the highest level and become UFC champions.

"It's like, damn, if this guy can do it, I know I can do it. That's not a shot at those guys, but I know that I'm as hungry, as motivated and have as much athletic prowess as those guys possess."

You listening, Dana White?

"It's something I'd consider," Burroughs said of the UFC. "It'd really have to be lucrative, though. I make a decent living wrestling. So unless it's some crazy numbers and it's something I can't refuse, I'm going to have to say 'no.'"

It's easy to imagine White, the UFC president, giving serious consideration to bringing Burroughs aboard, assuming he hasn't already set his sights on the New Jersey native. Burroughs would do nothing but enhance the UFC brand. He's charismatic in an extremely classy and down-to-earth way. His athleticism is off the charts. His brand is already strong, but think about how much stronger it would become if he captures a gold medal in August 2020 in Tokyo to go with his gold in the 2012 Olympics.

You listening, Mr. White?

"I think I would (be a draw)," Burroughs said. "I think I'd be a pretty good fighter, too."

Asked if he could become a feared striker, Burroughs said, "I'm a fighter at heart. Wrestling is just my profession of choice. So while I think UFC fighters are very honorable and very noble men -- it's a great profession -- I don't necessarily think those guys are the toughest guys in the world. I've been around some wrestlers that I consider some of the toughest guys in the world, but we just chose wrestling.

"The UFC's just become prominent in, let's say, the last decade. Wrestling's been around a long period of time."

"I know if I decided to fight, it would be such a big-time promotion and such great news for the world," Burroughs added. "That's what's hard to deny about it. The UFC's big. It's huge. With the following it has and the rapport I've built throughout my wrestling career, I think anyone knows that if I made that transition, I'd be pretty darn good at it.

"It's just something I've shied away from because I love wrestling so much."

You get all that, Mr. White?

* First things first: The Final X competition will include sessions Saturday at noon and 6 p.m. at the Devaney Sports Center. Burroughs will wrestle Isaiah Martinez in the final match of the night. It's a big event for Lincoln, not to mention the Husker program.

In that regard, Burroughs always has strong words of praise for Nebraska coaches Mark Manning and Bryan Snyder, who play lead roles in his training. 

By the way, Burroughs seems much more apt to join the UFC than he is to become a wrestling coach once he's done competing on the mat.

"It's not my thing," he said of the coaching profession. "I've spent a lot of time with Coach Manning and Coach Snyder, and those guys do an amazing job. The difficult thing, though, is you essentially have 35 sons. Everyone on the roster is your son, and they're all different in terms of character, integrity levels and their abilities.

"So what (Manning and Snyder) do is an absolute grind. They're heavily invested into the guys on the team and building this program. While it is an honorable profession, I really enjoy the freedom and flexibility of just being able to be a professional athlete and do what I do."

Maybe in the near future that'll involve cold-cocking someone with a straight right. I'd pay to see that.

* Northwestern's football team finished 7-2 and 8-1 in the Big Ten the past two years. The Wildcats won the West Division by three games in 2018.

However, as Marc Morehouse of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, notes, Nebraska is "the cheeky 2019 favorite of the mile-wide, inch-deep preseason publications." Not a bad description of the mags, although it certainly doesn't apply to Phil Steele's annual publication -- which by the way picks the Huskers to reign supreme in the West this coming season.

Nebraska is also Steele's pick for the "most improved" team in the nation in 2019.

Gets your attention, huh?

* Based on what I heard from multiple sources Tuesday, I would be very surprised if baseball coach Rob Childress left Texas A&M for any other job this season, including the Nebraska job. He's staying put, I'm told. Wonder what Bill Moos has up his sleeve this time.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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