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Current and Former NFL Stars Who Train in Mixed Martial Arts: A Fan’s View
Former NFL standouts Matt Mitrione, Marcus Jones and Hershel Walker have each stepped up to the challenge of testing their skills in professional cagefights, and dozens of other pro football stars have engaged in MMA-style training to stay in shape during offseasons.
Here's a look at the rest of the top NFL athletes who train in mixed martial arts:
"If you can stand there and wrestle with Randy Couture and not get thrown all over the place, obviously it's going to be better for wrestling in the trenches with defensive linemen," said NFL Network analyst Jay Glazer, who doubles as an MMA trainer.
Lewis was one of the many NFL stars who joined Matthews for a training session with Glazer and Couture when the NFL was locked out last offseason. "When you come in here, you're thinking like a fighter and training like a fighter."
When he showed up to Vikings' training camp in 2011, he was looking leaner and quicker than he was in previous seasons. MMA training features a lot of the same body-on-body leverage techniques that translates well into useable football skills.
Antonio Cromartie: In the 2009 offseason, Cromartie joined Terrell Suggs and Dwight Freeney for a Pro Tect workout that featured many of the skills used in mixed martial arts. The men worked on striking techniques and advanced strength-training.
MMA and NFL training are both extremely gut-wrenching, but the differences are striking. "It's totally different with the cardio, and getting in shape for the NFL is a completely different world," said Mitrione. Other NFL athletes who have trained in MMA include Keith Rivers, Kirk Morrison and Jon Cooper.
Who else deserves a spot on this list? Let me know in the comments.
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