Sunnyside High School wrestling legend Roman Bravo-Young has announced he will wrestle in international competition, and potentially the Olympics, for Team Mexico.
Bravo-Young made the announcement while training in Las Vegas, including with fellow Tucsonan and UFC fighter Dominick Cruz, following Bravo-Young’s first UFC match that he participated in recently.
A rumor on wrestling Web site message boards started in June that Bravo-Young will wrestle with Mexico going forward. He confirmed that decision in a video this week.
“The next step in my career is to wrestle for Team Mexico,” Bravo-Young said. “Given the opportunity to be crowned a world champion, or just chasing that dream or goal, it excites me. It lights a fire up.
“This is why I wrestle — I want to be the best at it. Now I get the chance to be the best around the world — not just at the NCAA level, or USA, this is the whole world.”
Bravo-Young mentioned in the vlog that he will participate in a world wrestling event in Mexico later this month.
He will wrestle at Oaxtepec, Morelos, Mexico, at 61kg (134 pounds), with the intent to go down to 57 (125) to try to qualify at that weight for the 2024 Olympics.
He has dual-citizenship with his mother Sarah Bravo of Mexican descent. His great grandfather and grandmother Sylvia are from Mexico.
He is legendary wrestling figure in Southern Arizona with his four state titles and 187-0 record with the Sunnyside High School dynasty from 2015-18.
He went on to become a five-time All-American at Penn State, winning two national titles before finishing runner-up this season at 133 pounds. He finished 110-10 with the Nittany Lions with three Big Ten titles while also being a Hodge Trophy finalist in 2022.
His first UFC fight in Las Vegas on June 29 against seventh-ranked UFC flyweight contender Alex Perez ended in a draw. He passed, mounted and outscrambled Perez for most of the match.
“I’m excited to wrestle again; it’s been a while, since (NCAA) national finals when I didn’t get my dream I always wanted,” Bravo-Young said in his vlog. “It’s all good. I let it get the fire beneath me. I need that. I’m in a good spot in my life.
“I am just excited to wrestle again and do what I love and compete. I want to compete more and be active.”
He added that he has time to get better at freestyle wrestling leading up to the event at Mexico City.
“I’ve been so consistent with folkstyle that in college, everybody is like, ‘NCAA champion, NCAA champion,’ so I feel like freestyle is going to give me a huge drive and a new fire because I feel like I don’t have my style set yet,” Bravo-Young said.
“I am going to learn (and) adapt. I’m excited to get some freestyle in at this world tournament at Mexico City.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.