Best Pro Football Players Turned MMA Fighters

Best Pro Football Players Turned MMA Fighters

There have been many pro athletes who switched over to MMA and had successful fighting careers. Some of them even won titles and were top contenders during their runs.

Here is a list of the best pro football players turned MMA fighters. Read about these five footballers turned fighters below and click the link to access the best fighting and football betting site.

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar

One of the best pro football players turned MMA fighters, who many forget is former UFC champ Brock Lesnar. Many know Brock for being a NCAA champion wrestler and long-time professional wrestler.

However, before Lesnar transitioned to MMA, he got a shot at an NFL career in 2005. Lesnar was offered a spot at the Minnesota Vikings preseason training camp.

The former wrestling champ hadn’t played football since high school, but still showed potential as a pro. Unfortunately, he was the very last cut before the season and never got to play in the regular season.

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Many NFL scouts said Lesnar could’ve easily played in the league if he had played in college. However, things turned out well for Brock as he transitioned to fighting and won the UFC heavyweight title.

Brendan Schaub


Next up on the list of the best football players turned MMA fighters is Brendan Schaub. Before Schaub got into the cage, Schaub redshirted at the University of Colorado

Brendan went undrafted by the NFL and spent 2006 in Arena Football playing for the Utah Blaze. After just one season, Brendan quit football and pursued a fighting career.

From 2008 to 2014. Schaub competed as a pro fighter and spent most of his career in the UFC. He went 10-5 and beat contenders such as Gabriel Gonzaga, Matt Mitrione, and the legend Cro Cop.

Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione

As we just mentioned Mitrione, he also happens to be one of the best pro football players turned MMA fighters. Matt earned a scholarship to Purdue University, where he was a starting lineman.

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He went undrafted at the 2002 NFL draft, but was signed by the New York Giants. Mitrione played a season for the Giants before going to the San Francisco 49ers and then the Minnesota Vikings.

Unfortunately due to injuries, Matt’s football career didn’t pan out and transitioned over to fighting. He got onto the reality show The Ultimate Fighter and made his pro debut within the UFC. 

He spent 8 years with the UFC, where he went 9-5 before moving to Bellator, where he fought until 2021.

Bob Sapp

Bob Sapp

“The Beast” Bob Sapp has had a long career in combat sports and was a superstar in Japan. But before he got into fighting, Sapp was a highly-touted NFL prospect in the late 1990s. 

He was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but was released and picked up by the Minnesota Vikings. Sapp’s career was halted after a positive steroid test and only played in one professional game.

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However, after Sapp’s hard times, he got into kickboxing and MMA, where he became a star in Japan. He was involved in numerous epic battles in they heyday of K-1 and PRIDE during the early 2000s.

Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy

We can’t have a list of the best pro football players turned MMA fighters without mentioning Greg Hardy. Greg is arguably the best pro football player turned fighter in the history of the sport.

He had an incredibly successful career, where he was considered one of the league’s best defensive lineman. Unfortunately, after a domestic assault arrest, Hardy’s football career abruptly ended and he went into fighting.

Hardy quickly got into the UFC, where he was heavily disliked by fans from the domestic assault case. Despite the hate, Hardy went 7-5 as a pro MMA fighter. 

The former NFL star is currently fighting in boxing, Team Combat League, and fought once in BKFC.