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10 NFL Players Who Might Actually Have a Chance in an MMA Fight

By CagePotato contributor, Jason Moles

(Garth DeFelice could have been a contender if it weren’t for that bum hip.)

Imagine for a moment that it’s a hot July morning. You wake up in your McMansion located in a gated community or on a private road. You step into a bathroom, which appears to have been transplanted from a magazine, and take a shower. After you’re dressed, it’s time to have a modest breakfast consisting of no less than four eggs, three slices of bacon, three sausage links, a stack of hotcakes so scrumptious Paul Bunyan would be jealous, and all the freshly squeezed orange juice a man could want. Once you’ve had your fill, you hop in your Lamborghini and head to work… at BestBuy, or maybe it’s Staples. Oops, almost forgot; you went to college so you may have landed a comfortable desk job.

Yes sir, instead of heading to two-a-days at the stadium preparing for the upcoming season on the gridiron, you’re playing the role of the stiff with a 9-5’er to make ends meet. Hey man, it is after all “straight cash, homey” and every hour worked in that inglorious soul-crusher known as work is another chance to elude the repo man.

Do you know who you are? You are an American football player who used to play in the NFL. Since the lockout, things just haven’t been the same. We know it’s all about the Benjamins and all (unless your name is Herschel Walker), so here are a few, possibly former NFL players who might actually have a chance in MMA, unlike Jonnie Morton.

Matt Roth

DE, Cleveland Browns – 6’ 4”, 275lbs.

Matt Roth lettered three times in wrestling back in the day and has an outstanding record of 31-0. As an Iowa State Champion and All-American football player, Roth is used to the physical toll long training camps take on your body. Give this guy a year or two at Jackson’s or AKA and you may just be surprised that this dude can do more than just wrestle.

Kelly Gregg

DT, Baltimore Ravens – 6’, 320lbs.

After undoubtedly being picked on in school for being huge and being named Kelly, Gregg found out a way to release his anger: wrestling. This behemoth wrestled his way to becoming the Oklahoma heavyweight champion three years straight from 199 to 1995. Sure, the Super Bowl XXXV champion would need to get on that Dolce Diet or get GSP to hook him up with “Rush Fit” to make weight, but that shouldn’t be an issue.

If he’s strapped for cash and doesn’t have time to sit in a sauna, he could always stop eating veggies for few months and get a life-threatening disease to lose the extra pounds before weigh-ins. Well, it worked for Brock Lesnar. What, too soon?

“Rowdy” Roddy White

WR, Atlanta Falcons – 6’, 212lbs.

Anyone who’s watched Sports Center in the past few years knows exactly who Roddy White is and what he’s capable of inside the 20. What you may not know, is that he is a two-time South Carolina state champ in wrestling. As a force to be reckoned with in the run-blocking game, White is comfortable fending off larger opponents. Take his wrestling background combined with the gas tank of an upper-echelon wide receiver and you’ve got half an MMA fighter. All he needs now are a few BJJ and boxing lessons and three months of sprawl training at the local UFC gym, right?

Stephen Neal

G, New England Patriots – 6’ 4”, 305lbs.

If you can’t tell already, there are a bunch of big fellas who can no longer make bank by strapping on a helmet and knocking a few skulls on the weekend. Stephen Neal can do that and so much more. This man went 151-10 as a four time All-American wrestler at the California State University, Bakersfield. He placed fourth his freshman year, second in his junior year, then went on to win two straight NCAA Division 1 Heavyweight titles, defeating former UFC champion Brock Lesnar in the process. In 1999, Neal won the Dan Hodge Award following a year in which he won the U.S. Freestyle Championship, the Pan-American Games title and the World Championship. The dude even won the FILA outstanding wrestler award, an honor given to the best wrestler in the world!

I am fully aware that, contrary to the majority of judges, you need more than superior wrestling prowess to succeed in MMA. However, Neal is a three-time Super Bowl winner whose experience and determination could get a few W’s in the cage.

Clay Matthews

LB, Green Bay Packers – 6’ 3”, 255lbs.

Following in the footsteps of his father – who followed in the footsteps of his father – Clay Matthews is an outstanding football player who is not just another one-dimensional jock. Matthews is the recipient of the Butkus Award, a two-time Pro Bowler and was nominated the NFC Defensive Play of the Year in 2010. In his first two years as a pro, he racked up 23.5 sacks, an incredible feat in and of itself.

You: OK, we get it. He’s good at football, but what else can he do that makes you think he’d stand a chance against the big dogs in the UFC?

Me: He trains MMA with Jay Glazer at Xtreme Couture. ‘Nuff said.

Troy Polamalu

SS, Pittsburgh Steelers – 5’ 10”, 207lbs.

Where should I start? Polamalu is a six-time Pro Bowler with two Super Bowl rings and was the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year. Essentially, he’s “Head and Shoulders” above the competition. You see what I just did there? Eat your heart out, Rex. What he lacks in empirical skills he more than makes up for in knowing how to lay you the f*ck out. Bjorn Rebney would be a fool not to sign Polamalu for an upcoming tournament spot. I personally guarantee he’ll do better than Matt Major did against Alexander Schlemenko last year.

Brian Urlacher

LB, Chicago Bears – 6’ 4”, 258

This Old Spice guy has a Jake Shields-esque amount of trophies and championships. Urlacher once picked a fight with Bas Ruten. Not enough? He once single-handedly defeated four guys at once.  For many of the same reasons listed for Polamalu, this Bear has what it takes to hold his own on and off the field.

Tom Zbikowski

Safety, Baltimore Ravens – 5’ 11”, 215 lbs.

The NFL’s most talented boxer has done want no MMA fighter has done, and that is fight in the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City. Zbikoswki is undefeated through his first three fights in the ring including a 49-second TKO in the first round, and is looking to continue his streak Saturday night against Blake Warner. Throwing leather in multiple weight classes, it’s likely that Tommy Z is looking to be a moneyweight fighter, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Highly esteemed trainer Orlando Cuellar, who is best known as the longtime trainer of former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson, will be helping this Raven’s combat sport career take flight. Too bad Randy decided to call it quits or he could be the first MMA guy to fight an NFL-guy-turned-boxing-guy-turned-MMA-guy.

Ray Lewis

LB, Baltimore Ravens – 6’ 2”, 250lbs.

I may as well have just listed the entire Baltimore Raven’s 53-man roster and saved myself some time. It’s not hard to see why the Raven’s have had one of the best defenses in all of pro football for the past decade. Heading up the weekly attack is team captain Ray Lewis. Dana would love this guy because he’s the exact opposite of Kos and Fitch; he’s ready and willing to face a “real” teammate in Tommy Z (see above). Lewis may not have the experience that Zbikoswki has nor does he have a great trainer like him either, but that may not sway the odds makers because he’s been known to carry a blade.

Tom Brady

QB, New England Patriots – 6’ 4” 225lbs.

If he can throw punches half as good as he can footballs, you’d be wise to give him a punchers chance in the cage. I mean come one look at the dude. If that doesn’t strike fear in your heart I don’t know what will. Ok, so maybe he doesn’t really stand a chance against anyone in MMA, at least not in the men’s division. It’s not that far of a stretch to think that Bill Belicheck’s superior game planning combined with Brady’s execution could actually equal wins.

Notable Mentions: Julius Peppers, Michael Westbrook, Jason Babin, Andre Johnson and Courtland Finnegan,


  1. Crap Factory Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 06:48

    Stephen Neal is a beast. As a MA resident, my son and I have had the chance to meet some of these guys in the past. Any one of them would put a hurting on someone on or off the field. Tom Brady, not so much.
  2. Pen Fifteen Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:03

    I guess you missed the part where after someone told him who Bas Rutten was, Urlacher totally bitched out and was falling all over himself apologizing.
  3. mDino Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:09

    dwight howard or lebron could probably do ok
  4. FeelDaRiddum Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:13

    tom brady really? gtfo
  5. Hesh to Steel Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:14

    Can't believe you left LT off this list. He trains with Kimbo, dude! That should be worth an honorable mention. Even if it just means that 10:13:26 AM is primed to get KTFO by a no-name fighter in the weight class below his. Ha.
  6. Fried Taco Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:23

    Now this is real fantasy football!
  7. KarmaAteMyCat Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:29

    You and your unkind words about brady can go fuck yourself! He's a beast hater!
  8. jimbonics Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:38

    Belichek would have illegal video footage of Tom's opponent, then grease him up real good as his corner man. Unified Rules would be modified to prevent anyone armbar'ing Mr. Brady.
  9. ReX13 Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:40

    jimbo +5
  10. Cocky Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:56

    What part of NFL players did you not understand? NBA guys and washed up players who haven't played in years are not included.
  11. RwilsonR Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 07:57

    We get it, you like the Ravens. Lorenzo Neal was an All-American wrestler at Fresno State, and a very good amateur boxer. Shawne Merriman trains muay thai with Brandon Vera and some bjj, also. If Merriman could have gotten into the sport when he was younger and injury-free, that guy could have been an absolute beast. Plus, he already has a win over Tila Tequila. hXXp://
  12. KarmaAteMyCat Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:00

    Bill belichek = Greg jackson?
  13. RwilsonR Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:03

    I know I've said many times how much I dislike women's MMA, but if Tom Brady fought Gina Carano at HW, I would watch that.
  14. Fried Taco Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:10

    @RwilsonR that's if Gina could cut down enough to make HW.
  15. Trouser Snake Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:14

    Tom Brady vs Cris Cyborg. Man who looks like a woman fights a woman who looks like a man.
  16. O Chan Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:19

    Brady is God, therefore will kill anyone in the cage, including Jon Bones. GO PATS!!!!
  17. Hornstar19 Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:26

    I am a Ravens fan, so I enjoy this list greatly. However, Arthur Jones should be on there. 2nd ranked wrestler in the nation in HS, and has 2-3 NY state championships. He trains with his brother (Jonny Bones Jones), and is an athletic freak. Granted, Kelly Gregg did beat him in a locker room wrestling match (video is on Baltimore Ravens website.) Additionally, Ray Edwards has a great shot. He is starting a professional boxing career, and would be the perfect size to cut to HW and still be enormous. Honorable Mention: Brandon Jacobs who was an amazing amateur boxing prospect back in LA when he was younger. Bob Arum of Top Rank has said he would be the best boxer in the NFL if he didn't stop to focus on football.
  18. GistoftheFist Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 08:44

    I think it's funny when football players try out for MMA. A lot of them are just mad they're no longer at the top of the sports foodchain and feel their epeens are threatened. Entertaining as hell to see someone's fatass get winded in the first round and picked apart with leg kicks by someone 50 pounds lighter than they are.
  19. Reverend_Clint Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 09:14

    im gonna be a dick since people always nitpick my posts. "This behemoth wrestled his way to becoming the Oklahoma heavyweight champion three years straight from 199 to 1995." this dude wrestled for over 1700 years... badass. tom brady looks like he has a mild case of downs syndrome
  20. chuckd89 Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 09:25

    Courland Finnegan as notable mention? Really? He can't even fight like a man. Cheap shots every chance he gets. Kyle Orton almost kicked his ass last season.
  21. Dog Dicks Magoo Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 10:08

    Really hurting for material huh guys?
  22. Kimbo Lesnar Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 10:38

    "This behemoth wrestled his way to becoming the Oklahoma heavyweight champion three years straight from 199 to 1995." Spanning almost 2 thousand years! This guy makes Pai Mei look like a pussy!
  23. Smitty Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 11:11

    Not a fan of Bill Cheatatshit and the Patriots, and really don't understand why Tom Lady was even mentioned on this list.
  24. El Guapo Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 11:20

    If you're gonna make reference to Johnny Morton, you gotta throw up the link, playa. Dude was snoring like the Dutchess(whatever the f'k that means)..
  25. Shaky Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 11:25

    I thought this list was just setup to end with Jon Jones' NFL playing bro and some description like " he's the brother of the best light hw in the game, and blah blah blah, jones' said he is better than him blah blah blah"....but no, finished with Tom Brady, who was a surprise, which is weird since he is pretty much one of the only guys I have heard of, actually watched (from the UK over here).
  26. SweetAfflictionShirt Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 11:34

    Peyton Hillis...Go Browns.
  27. RwilsonR Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 12:10

    I'd like to see Eli Manning get sodomized by Cris Cyborg.
  28. Harry Nips Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 01:15

    Tom Brady?!?!? Jesus Titty Fucking Christ! BTW, You spelled Rutten wrong (Ruten?).
  29. exect4500 Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 03:18

    Jared Allen actually trains MMA.
  30. Joe-Say Aldo Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 05:05

    Brady would get crushed. Id say just about any NFL running back, linebacker, defensive end, or safety would have a chance in an MMA fight. The O-linemen and defensive tackles would have a chance too but they probably wouldn't be able to cut enough weight to get below 265.
  31. jackthedrinker89 Says:

    Wed, 04/20/11 - 06:52

    Okay who ever put tom brady in there is dumb because as a HUGE football fan we have a thing called the Brady rule, which is when the QB gets hit and complains he got hit even if it was a legal hit... dudes a pussy, a bitch, and a whiner.
  32. siksik6 Says:

    Thu, 04/21/11 - 06:04

    The absence of Jared Allen ruins this list. Physical specimen, never seems to get hurt, pension for starting shit, and a perfect personality for MMA. Plus he totally hangs with Chuck Liddell.
  33. Romanhelmut Says:

    Thu, 04/21/11 - 06:25

    Nice article CP...I like it! What makes this list lose credibility is that there are no Kickers on this list....their Muay Thai skills are sick....
  34. jalia parsnip Says:

    Sat, 11/30/13 - 07:14

    10 NFL Players Who Might Actually Have a Chance in an MMA Fight | Cagepotato... The Birch of the Shadow...

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