EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y (NEWS10) — The next time Trent Svingala’s arm is raised in victory, it won’t be after a wrestling match. The two-time New York State champion is hanging up his singlet after one year competing at the Division I level.
“Throwing away what you’re always respected for and what you’ve done all this stuff with is kind of crazy to most,” Svingala said, but it’s not crazy to him. The Maple Hill graduate decided that continuing to wrestle at Columbia University could potentially stand in the way of his future.
Since he was seven years old, his ultimate dream has been to be a UFC Champion. His experience on the wrestling mat has helped him in the cage, but when he injured his shoulder two-thirds of the way through his freshman season, it forced him to re-evaluate his path.
“I have so many friends there at Columbia that wrestled that can’t even move their shoulders. They go running and their entire shoulder’s purple because there’s no blood flow,” Svingala explained his train of thought. “What am I gonna do? Am I gotta take four years and really beat myself up and maybe not know what my future’s going to be at that point?” He decided the answer was “no,” so instead from here on out, he’ll double down on his MMA career.
“I’d rather be in my prime, in my golden years here than maybe coming in and being like, ‘Oh, I started when I was 27 and only got three or four good years in me. So at least I know I got those years on my legs. I’ve got some time to put my best food forward.”
Svingala won his only amateur fight two years ago in Vermont. He’s hoping to step back into the cage as soon as fights return to New York so his friends and family will get a chance to see him compete.
“I want to win. I want to kind of crush people’s hearts. Get everybody to love me, and whatever comes in between comes in between, but I know I want to be the best.”