April 07, 2009
Making the move from the football field to the Octagon is a tough feat but three former National Football League players gave it a go at the Seattle tryouts for The Ultimate Fighter 10. The UFC is wisely trying to beef up its heavyweight ranks with another cast of big men on the reality show. According to MMAMania Marcus Jones, Rex Richards and Herbert Goodman all tried out.
Jones was the No. 22 pick by Tampa Bay in the 1996 draft. He was selected three slots after Marvin Harrison and four picks before Ray Lewis. After a six-year career, Jones, now 35, has made the transition to full-time MMA fighter. He certainly has the size at 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds.
Richards, an All-Big 12 lineman at Texas Tech, played with the Indianapolis Colts. He's cut down from 350 pounds to around 275 since he started fighting. He is 6-1 with his only loss coming against the UFC's Shane Carwin. Cage Writer did a profile on Richards last month and his goal is to get down under the 265 pound limit.
Goodman was a running back/return man for Green Bay in 2000-2001 and 2003. He also played in NFL Europe. He's fighting at light heavyweight and already has a 9-6 record.
Former NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton tried MMA back in 2007. He was knocked out in 39 seconds. Former Steeler and Jet lineman Carlton Haselrig also had three professional MMA fights in 2008. Michael Westbrook, the former Redskins, has also dabbled in MMA and now beats up civilians on MTV.
The former football players were a small sample of the 250 fighters who tried out for TUF 10. The UFC's last attempt at fielding a heavyweight cast came back in 2005. The only legit heavyweights from a size standpoints were Brad Imes, Dan Christison and Kerry Schall. Rob MacDonald, Tom Murphy, Mike Whitehead, Keith Jardine, Seth Petruzelli and Rashad Evans all wound up down at light heavyweight once the show ended.
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