March 20, 2009
The guys in the trenches seem to get bigger with each passing year in college and pro football. Whether it's done naturally or not, it doesn't seem to be heathly for anyone to be carrying 330 pounds. Rex Richards, a former lineman with the Indianapolis Colts and the Arena Football League, has made his choice. He'd rather get punched in the face than walk around risking heart disease and diabetes, along with all the other risks big guys take when they pack on the pounds.
"You know what, that's not going to be me in 10 years," Richards, an All-Big 12 performer on the offensive line, told Cage Writer. "We have a strong influence in college to gain, gain, gain. I showed up under 300 pounds, when I left Texas Tech, I was 345. At the end of the day, that's not good for your body, no matter who you are."
The 6-foot-5 Richards is seven fights into his new career as a mixed martial artist. His only loss came to UFC rising prospect Shane Carwin. Richards, 28, wants in the UFC too but he's trying to strip down from his NFL weight of 345 to the UFC heavyweight limit of 265. He's part of a growing crew of former NFL fatties who are choosing to shed massive weight once their playing career is over:
"I think for the most part, pro lineman and college lineman are just sick of being heavy," said Richards. "Not everything is meant for power anymore. I don't need to knock a 400-pounder on his butt anymore."
Listen to Richards talk about his transition to MMA from the NFL (ESPNRadio1100 w/Cofield & Cokin):
He started training in jiu-jitsu and muay thai when he was still playing football. Now that he's training as a fighter he says there are big differences between his old trade and new one:
"It takes a lot more to be a fighter than a football player," said Richards. "It takes so much more discipline. It takes so much more heart because you don't have a team to lean on when things are tough."
Richards expects to fight in early May and hopes that will be his first fight at the heavyweight limit of 265. Richards told ProMMA that the big heavyweights (245-265) with technique are going to change the face of the division. Richards said he's close to getting his black belt from Gracia Barra.
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