The NFL is often talked about as the home of the world’s best athletes, but while the stars of the sport deserve respect, it’s safe to say that in the UFC, even the toughest footballers will find it hard to make the transition from football.
Over the years, we’ve seen a number of ex-NFL players try to transition into MMA. While a number failed, there were a few who managed to make it to the UFC with some success.
With some skills—strength, speed, and explosive power—which clearly translate from the NFL to the figure eight, can we see former soccer stars move across sports in the future? everything is possible.
Right now, though, there are five players from the NFL who have made the transition to the UFC.
#5. Eric Anders – UFC Light Heavyweight
Several former NFL stars competed to move into the unsurprisingly octagonal in the heavyweight division. However, the only anomaly is Eric Anders, who fought in the octagon at both the middleweight and light heavyweight division.
Unlike many athletes who transitioned into MMA, Anders did not wrestle during his time in college. Instead, he enjoyed a stellar football career at the University of Alabama, where he played for Crimson Tide as a linebacker.
‘Ya Boi’ helped his team win the 2009 BCS National Championship. After college, he was scored by the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. However, after failing to make an appearance in the league for them, he briefly transferred to Canadian football club Calgary Stampeders before giving up football entirely.
From there, “Ya Boi” transitioned to MMA, first as an amateur. Then he turned pro in 2015. The 8-0 round was enough to give him a contract with the biggest promotion in the world, and he’s been there ever since, collecting 6-6-1 and being impressive at times.
Anders has yet to move into the title fight, but the strength and athleticism he has honed during his football career certainly helped him with his victories over fighters like Vinicius Moreira and Rafael Natal.
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