Both football and MMA are high-intensity sports that require their participants to continuously
make contact with their opponents.
Professional athletes that excel in one sport often crossover to another in order to experience a
different type of challenge. When it comes to NFL players, members of the professional football
league know how to train well and perform to succeed. These athletes are extremely strong in
both muscle and stature and aren’t afraid to rush opponents and get dirty on the field.
MMA is a similar type of sport in respect to training and intensity as they both require athletes to
predict opponents’ moves and make contact without fear. Not surprisingly then, more than a few
football players have made the switch to mixed martial arts over the course of their careers. Let’s
take a look at some of the most memorable NFL players to compete in MMA events.
Herschel Walker is a decorated athlete, well-known for contributing to the success of various
NFL organizations from the Dallas Cowboys to the New York Giants, and more, the gifted
running back is and was a powerhouse on the field. Especially admired by his alma mater, The
University of Georgia, he won a Heisman Trophy in the early ’80s and left an unshakable legacy
for the college football team. In fact, nowadays the Bulldogs are favorites in top college football
betting odds for a CFP National Championship and Walker still resides in the great state of
However, after his football career came to a close, the Georgia native had a short run in the
MMA under Strikeforce and ended up winning several matchups. Walker’s Taekwondo black
belt served him well inside the ring and similarly, with professional and college football, he left
an iconic mark on the industry.
Martial Arts athletes must train consistently as the sport combines skills in both strength and
Former Cleveland Brown player and Crimson Tide alumni, Eryk Anders was also a force to be
reckoned with during his MMA stint. The linebacker-turned-fighter competed in the UFC middleweight
division, winning several championships in the sport against fierce competition. The footballer proved
his dominance in the fighting world, but not without his fair share of in-ring injuries.
However, Anders managed to recovery quickly, showing his fans he was eager to get back in the middle
of the action. After a successful career, he had his final fight in May of last year.
When MMA fans think of well-rounded, dominant athletes, Brock Lesnar normally comes to
mind. He’s one of mixed martial arts’ greatest performers, although many people don’t know
that he was also once an NFL football player. The five-time WWE champion was a short-term
member of the Minnesota Vikings during his fighting career. Although he ultimately chose his
love for martial arts over football, he’s a one-of-a-kind athlete who performs at the highest level
in anything he sets his mind to.
If you’re an inspiring fighter whose goal is to be the next great Brock Lesnar, check out our
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