NFLer Would Have More Success in MMA or Boxing?

Lets say a phenomenal NFL athlete like Herschel Walker was in his physical prime, lets say 25-28. Which sport would he have more success crossing over, MMA or boxing?

MMA.



There are more facets to MMA than boxing, giving him more opportunities to use his athleticism.



Can you imagine how strong Herschel Walker's legs were 20 years ago? Now picture him drilling double leg TDs for two years. Scary.

If you can't handle getting hit then you will not go far in boxing. However, in MMA you can make it far if you're exceptional in other areas.

It seems like the older you get, if you don't have a background in wrestling, the less liely you are to be able to develop good enough wrestling to fight successfully in MMA.

bsrizpac - UFC. Less Skill.


See: Brett Rogers getting title shots after 2 years even though he was a factory warehouse guy.



I have to say.... I am bothered by the "sam's club" stuff. I am not even a Grim fan by any stretch but I don't see how his past or current employment has anything to do with ability. Shane carwin is STILL an engineer, Franklin was a teacher and every other guy out there had some job/career before or during their fight career. Just cause it was in a warehouse or doing something not as incredible as civil engineering doesn't mean we should dog on him. I have worked some rough jobs but that doesn't define me or my training. It was a means to get by.

sadic1 - It seems like the older you get, if you don't have a background in wrestling, the less liely you are to be able to develop good enough wrestling to fight successfully in MMA.



It's funny I think the opposite holds true if the work ethic is there. There is an NFL player in az that would wrestle in the ASU room who was taught how to wrestle by Thom Ortiz . You can either be like Frank shamrock, decide you wrestling sucks, and ten years later your wrestling still sucks, or you can be like BJ Penn/GSP and work on wrestling getting better at it. Alot of these pros who wrestled since they were 5 were wrestling 5 year olds when they were 5. Those kids years I tend to think of like kids bjj/ good basics but nothing you can't catch up on. It's just not alot of people give it a serious try to get better at.

GSP and Penn depend a lot on their natural athleticism (GSP's explosion and BJ's flexibility/balance) to be so successful at wrestling.

Interesting thread. I'm not sure how I come out on this one. In the past, there have been some high profile but past-their-prime NFL players like Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark Gastineaux, and Alonzo Highsmith who took shots at becoming boxers but didn't come close to reaching an elite level. But that was at a time when heavyweights were more skilled technically.

GSP and Penn are kind of freaks in terms of natural talent, athelticism, and motivation. I'm not sure if that makes them less relevant to the wrestling discussion or if it just higlights the idea that if you are super dedicated, you can become a really good wrestler. But in my experience as someone who wrestled at a high level in high school (like a billion years ago) and does BJJ, I find it really hard to teach older guys in BJJ how to have a solid base, let alone develop a really good takedown shot. I may just be a crappy teacher, though.

But I don't know much about boxing. When does a person's hand speed peak? Can you develop it at 25-28, or is it too late?

"
But I don't know much about boxing. When does a person's hand speed peak? Can you develop it at 25-28, or is it too late? "

Roy Jones IMO, still has some of the fastest hands in the business at 40. He just doesn't have the confidence to pull the trigger. So it really depends on the boxer.

bsrizpac - UFC. Less Skill.


See: Brett Rogers getting title shots after 2 years even though he was a factory warehouse guy.


QFT

I do know that their is a boxing gym in Florida (I think?) called the "heavy Weight Factory" where they are taking elite athletes like NFL, NBA, etc,etc guys and trying to turn some of them into heavyweight contenders (hopefully). I guess this idea came from the fact that the US doesn't have any top heavies.

IMO the issue with this is that boxing takes YEARS AND YEARS to get any good at because it is so specialized with only being able to use 2 hands. where I feel MMA is a better fit for above average athlete with soooo many ranges of fighting. again, just my 2 cents

MMA easily.

You can succeed far easier in MMA just being a pure athletic freak, while Boxing's limited offensive approach is all about honing a few skills to near perfection which takes a lot longer to do. Also, an NFLers most transferable skill would be their take down abilities and outuscling guys in a clinch, both useless in boxing.

"IMO the issue with this is that boxing takes YEARS AND YEARS to get any good at because it is so specialized with only being able to use 2 hands. where I feel MMA is a better fit for above average athlete with soooo many ranges of fighting. again, just my 2 cents"

More than just two cents :) I think that you're probably right. In boxing, compared w/ MMA, you only have two weapons that you have to develop, and everyone has seen an athletic but inexperienced boxer lose to an opponent who isn't his physical equal but has much more ring experience. Remember when Holmes was in his forties and he would school those younger fighters on USA Tuesday Night Fights?

AnotherTMAguy - "
But I don't know much about boxing. When does a person's hand speed peak? Can you develop it at 25-28, or is it too late? "

Roy Jones IMO, still has some of the fastest hands in the business at 40. He just doesn't have the confidence to pull the trigger. So it really depends on the boxer.



Boxers are a lot like tennis players. The younger you start, the better the deep wiring is. There are a few exceptions, guys that start past the age of sixteen, but they are pretty rare. And even those who get a late start and compete at a world-class level for a time, like Hasim Rahman (around 19) and Michael Grant (early 20s), there are still major holes in their game. They will do amazingly impressive things in one sequence, then make amateurish mistakes the next moment that are in complete contrast to the previous brilliance.

I liken learning to be a great boxer to being a great chess player. There are several different pieces you have to learn, and then learn to integrate them together offensively and defensively, then think in terms of Overall Integration, etc. Which are three different elements altogether. That's why fighters who last long in the game like Shane Mosley, Mayweather, etc. are usually well-schooled amateurs. There are some exceptions like Bernard Hopkins who took up boxing in the joint in his very early 20s but that kind of made up for it because he was a natural fighter to begin with.

Also, today's fighters are far less active, which used to be an integral part of the learning process. Even in the 60s and 70s, it was no big deal for a contender to have 30-40 fights with a few losses, maybe a couple draws, as learning experiences. Today, it's virtually impossible to build a crossover-potential prospect unless he's undefeated. As a result, everyone is obsessed with keeping their unbeaten record as a loss can set you back 1-2 years. So there are less "learning" fights and more precocious handling of prospects to avoid that loss. A guy needs less and less fights to compete for more and more belts in more divisions. It's a reverse meritocracy.

In the 1940s and 1950s a guy would have to have 50 fights to even be considered for a semi-main event in the Garden. Nowadays, that's an old fighter, or some kid from Mexico that everyone goes gaga over, probably because he steamrolled a bunch of patsies.

sadic1 - GSP and Penn are kind of freaks in terms of natural talent, athelticism, and motivation. I'm not sure if that makes them less relevant to the wrestling discussion or if it just higlights the idea that if you are super dedicated, you can become a really good wrestler. But in my experience as someone who wrestled at a high level in high school (like a billion years ago) and does BJJ, I find it really hard to teach older guys in BJJ how to have a solid base, let alone develop a really good takedown shot. I may just be a crappy teacher, though.

But I don't know much about boxing. When does a person's hand speed peak? Can you develop it at 25-28, or is it too late?


GSP and BJ Penn are freaks of talent? OReally b/c most NFL players have two left feet the last time i checked. Reason bjj guys don't learn wrestling balance is because bjj doesn't require solid balance. For some positions in the NFL such as middle lineback/ o lineman. The push pull inner ear balance and hip powered explosions are developed so like i said if they are open minded i can see them doing well.

MMA is the better choice of the two now, but definitely not in the past.