It goes without saying that NFL players, on the whole, are pretty tough; that simply comes with the territory when you’re taking hits for a living. While Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt might be one of the most intimidating guys in the league, even he has his limits.
Despite his size, toughness, and ability to get after the quarterback with incredible ease, don’t expect JJ Watt to try his hand in a UFC match anytime soon. That sport, it seems, is a bit too much for the NFL star.
JJ Watt’s impressive rise to NFL stardom
Every sports fan loves an underdog story. In the NFL, few of those are better than JJ Watt’s rise to stardom.
While we now know him as an elite defensive end, Watt actually started his career on the offensive side of the ball. He headed to Central Michigan University as a tight end; he didn’t receive many offensive touches, however, and the coaching staff suggested he move onto the offensive line. Watt, however, wasn’t interested.
After spending some time as a pizza delivery guy, Watt transferred to the University of Wisconsin, walked onto the football team, and found a home on the defensive side of the ball. While he did enough to become a first-round draft pick, not every Houston Texans fan was pleased when Watt joined the club; his selection, in fact, was met by boos.
He used that reception as motivation, however, and turned into a star. While Watt has been plagued by injuries, he’s still become one of the NFL’s most fearsome pass rushers; in his nine professional seasons, he’s piled up 96 sacks and 479 total tackles, in addition to claiming three Defensive Player of the Year titles.
UFC, however, is a bridge too far
As we saw when he returned from a torn pectoral during the 2019 NFL season, JJ Watt is no stranger to pushing through pain. Stepping into the octagon for a UFC bout, however, is too much, even for him.
“I can tell you that I don’t know if any of my brothers and I are taking a shin kick to the ribs,” Watt told TMZ Sports. “I don’t know if we’re volunteering for that anytime soon. … If you’ve ever taken a Razor scooter to the ankle, that puts me out for three days, so I’m not looking to take anybody’s shin to my shin.”
Watt went on to explain that he’s a fan of mixed martial arts and has taken in fights before. That in-person experience confirmed that the octagon is much different than the gridiron.
“No, no interest [in becoming an MMA fighter],” Watt continued. “You pop one shot at my shin and I’m on the ground. Those little kicks, that people when you’re watching on TV and you kind of brush them off, like ‘oh he hit him in the thigh, big deal,’ I was sitting ringside at the last Jon Jones fight. That thigh kick could snap a regular person’s leg in half. I’m not looking to get in that cag and take that.”
JJ Watt might not become an MMA fighter, but his humility was pretty cool
It goes without saying that JJ Watt’s making the right decision by ruling out a potential UFC career. The defensive end has had enough injuries playing football; he’s also made more than enough money during his time on the gridiron to live comfortably without subjecting himself to punches and kicks.
While there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Watt stating he has no plans at trying his hand at professional fighting, it is pretty cool that he admitted something is beyond his skill set. For all of his success on the football field, the defensive end gave credit to another set of athletes and admitted his skill set doesn’t translate to their sport; as you can surely imagine, not every pro would have been that humble.
As we’ve seen in recent weeks, JJ Watt is pretty comfortable in front of a TV camera. Stepping into the octagon for a UFC fight, however, is too tough for him.