By Esteban Ramirez
People may know Brian Cobb for being a mixed martial arts athlete or director of operations for CSU Bakersfield’s wrestling program, but for him it all started as a part of the wrestling team for CSUB.
“It was pretty incredible,” Cobb said about his time at CSUB. “It was nice to be a part of a team where they expectations were so high. It was nice to transfer to a place where I could just jump in with both feet. They expected me to hit the ground running and go out there and win right away. My high school coach was Tim Kerr, who was the younger brother of T.J. Kerr, so it was a smooth transition for me to wrestle for T.J.”
Cobb transferred to CSUB from Marquette University in 2001 after it had to drop its wrestling program, and wrestled there until 2004. He was the only senior from the 2004 team that went 14-1 in the season, and Cobb ended the year with a 35-12 record and earned a second-place finish in the PAC-12 Tournament.
“My experience was one where I had to start new after I left [Marquette], but one where every single day we got better, every day we were grinding and everyone around me had a common goal,” Cobb said. “Every day we expected nothing but success. That was the culture while I was there.”
He said that one of his favorite memories was in his senior year when they had a home dual against Fresno State and Arizona State, which they ended up winning in overtime.
“It was pretty exciting to cap off my last home duals,” he said. “We beat Fresno State and we beat Arizona State. For us to come out on top and finish off my last home dual like that, was a nice send off.”
Cobb added that he still has medals, newspaper articles and conference trophies that he got to keep because he was the only senior on the team.
“I kept a lot of things because it means a lot to me,” Cobb said. “It was really sad being the only senior because there wasn’t really anyone to sit back and reminisce with, but I hung onto everything.
“I kept a couple of [The Runner newspapers] from my senior year. It was cool to have done enough to be in print. It’s not necessarily super-immortalized because you don’t know how many people are going to go back to look at the 2003-2004 January issue of The Runner and read the wrestling article, but it’s great for me. I’ll hang on to them and show them to my daughter, my wife, my kids and my grandkids to let them know that they are not just stories. That there are hard facts that support it.”
When he’s not helping the CSUB wrestling team, Cobb is competing as an MMA athlete and currently holds a 23-8 record.
He has won the Gladiator Challenge and the Palace Fighting Championship lightweight titles. He also had a fight in Ultimate Fighting Championship back in 2009.
“I have had a pretty good mixed martial arts career up to this point, but I think if I had never wrestled at Cal State I probably never would have been a fighter. I absolutely would not have found the success that I have found. The last year and a half I have had a few injuries so staying the course, keeping your head up and persevering through it just a lot more about the program that I came from than it does about me as a person.”
Cobb added that he’s proud of being a CSUB alumnus.
“Anytime I’m out in the wrestling community and I hear people talk about Cal State wrestling, it kind of just puts a smile on my face,” he said. “I know where I come from, and I know where I have been. It’s nothing but happy thoughts and a positive thing. It definitely has helped me be the man that I am today.”