He was the recipient of the Mr. Michigan Award (Most Outstanding Male Athlete), and he still holds the National takedown record -487 takedowns in a single season. Upon high school graduation, he accepted a full-ride wrestling scholarship to the University of Michigan where he earned a bachelor’s degree in the School of Kinesiology in 2000. While there, he was a University National Greco-Roman Champion. After an NCAA Wrestling All-American career at University of Michigan, Joe was invited to be a Greco-Roman wrestling resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, he competed on the US Olympic Greco-Roman team where he became a four-time US Open National Champion, two-time Pan-American champion, 2007 World Cup Champion and Greco-Roman World Champion at 60 kg -becoming only one of four Americans to ever achieve this goal. After winning the 2006 World Championship in China, Joe was the Sullivan Award runner-up (best amateur athlete in America).
Joe transitioned into MMA and joined Team Quest in Temecula, California owned by ex teammates Dan Henderson, Heath Simms, Randy Couture, and Matt Lindland. He immediately joined DREAM in Tokyo, Japan and entered the featherweight World Grand Prix. He later signed a contract with Bellator Fighting Championships where he was a three-time World Champion and the first to win in two different weight classes. Joe won the Featherweight world championship belt and dropped down in weight classes to win the Bantamweight World Championship belt. He was the first fighter to win world titles in two weight divisions. He was also the first athlete to achieve winning world titles in wrestling and in MMA. During his athletic career, he has also done extensive work as a color commentator and coach with several of the world’s most popular combat sports organizations including UFC, Bellator, WWE, One Championships, LFA, Bareknuckle Fighting, Dream, Rizin Fighting Federation, and NCAA wrestling. Joe starred with Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, and Frank Shamrock on the Spike TV reality show “Fightmaster” which followed the training of the day-to-day experiences of up and coming Bellator fighters. He retired as one of Bellator’s most decorated fighters and is currently coaching several young UFC and Bellator superstars out of Denver’s Factory X. His vast experience and connection to the combat sports world gives Battleground a significant edge in recruiting talent for its events.