Herschel Walker. Photo by Mitchel Haaseth/NBC.
1982 Heisman Trophy winner and College Football Hall-of-Fame member Herschel Walker has signed a multi-fight deal that will have him compete in Strikeforce’s heavyweight division. Walker is expected to make his debut with the promotion early next year.
The former two-time NFL pro-bowler is scheduled to begin a 12-week training camp next month under Bob Cook at San Jose-based American Kickboxing Academy. Walker holds a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has trained in Muay Thai and Kenpo as well.
“I’ve been training for several years,” Walker said in a press release. “I would play college football games on Saturday and then compete in martial arts tournaments on Sunday after church I’m now looking forward to opening up another chapter in my life and to competing in MMA.”
“I flew to LA last month to watch Herschel train and was surprised to see his advanced wrestling and striking abilities,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. “He’s got work ahead of him, but he’s committed to training at one of the most notable gyms in the sport of MMA so it will be very interesting to watch him progress.”
Following his junior year at the University of Georgia where he had set the NCAA freshman rushing record, Walker opted to leave school early in order to play in the newly formed USFL rather than wait to enter the NFL draft, of which he was selected by the Dallas Cowboys anyway. In 12 NFL seasons with four different teams, Walker rushed for 8,225 yards and 61 touchdowns.
Off the gridiron, Walker has achieved a handful of feats, including a seventh place finish in the 1992 Winter Olympics two-man bobsled competition. He also nearly made the Olympic sprint relay team in the same year as well.
“I will go in there and test myself against any 20 year old,” said Walker. “I know there will be naysayers and I’m fine with that. I want to prove to people who sit on a couch and don’t do anything but criticize other people that, if you’re a true athlete or martial artist, you’re not old until you can’t get up and walk around anymore. MMA fighters are said to be some of the best athletes in the world, my plan at the age of 47 is to show the world I am still one of the best athletes as well”
Next entry: Quarry Nets $60,000 in UFC Fight Night 19 Win