Jordan Burroughs does not lose to the world. Ranked number one internationally and with only a single loss since 2011, the 25-year-old is arguably the greatest U.S. wrestler ever. But though he has two world championship wins (2011, '13) and the 2012 Olympic gold medal, Burroughs' biggest threats are at home.
At the U.S. World Team Trials last weekend, the national team selector for the World Wrestling Championships in September, Burroughs defeated David Taylor 6-4. But the match had much larger implications, as this wasn't the first time the pair had met.
Taylor and Burroughs clashed in the final of the U.S. Open in April, where Taylor nearly pulled the upset. Holding a three-point lead at the end of the first period, Taylor, 23, then traded shots with Burroughs in the second. It was only a massive hemorrhage of points in the final 30 seconds that upset Taylor's upset.
At the U.S. Trials on June 1, it was in the same vein: Taylor seemed to match Burroughs point for point in the first, then lose his composure in the second, allowing Burroughs a fast takedown to seal the match. It was, if not a commanding win, as good as can be expected, seeing as how there always seems to be the next American taking a shot.
In fact, the only loss Burroughs has incurred since the start of his international career in 2011 came from an American. In February, he was eliminated from the semifinal round of the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul to Nick Marable. Marable went on to win, but his biggest prize was snapping Burroughs' 69-match winning streak.
Competition is so fierce nationally in 74 kg division that those who follow the sport were calling Burroughs a lock for world championship gold this fall if he could only make it out of his own country. He did, as he always has. But the gap is shrinking.
This year, as it appears destined to be through the 2016 Olympics, Burroughs' biggest challenges aren't occurring internationally. They're on the road to get there.