Phillipe Nover sounded thrilled when he first heard about what Renzo Gracie was cooking up for him -- wrestling against former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at Grapple at the Garden on Sunday, Dec. 1.
"Frankie Edgar wants to wrestle me?" Nover said. "All right!"
Nover lacks the wrestling pedigree of Edgar -- four trips to the Division I national tournament. But he does have an advantage in one area -- competing in athletic competitions in New York City.
Nover, a registered nurse from Brooklyn who reached the finals of Season 8 of "The Ultimate Fighter," fought in a Muay Thai event in Manhattan a couple years back. Professional mixed martial arts remains illegal in New York State, but all the sports that comprise MMA are legal on their own.
“It was a dream come true," Nover said. "It was such an exciting rush to have friends and family hopping on the subway to come see me.”
Will that help Nover, who has worked his wrestling for MMA purposes over the past five years, when he gets on the mats inside Madison Square Garden against Edgar?
"My first wrestling match ever and I get to go against probably one of the best guys in the world," Nover said. "I just came off of a jiu-jitsu match and I was diving for ankle locks. I might just flip a switch and dive for a heel hook."