Herschel Walker could be headed back to MMA if UFC President Dana White is willing to have him, but White appeared skeptical when asked about it at a pre-event press conference for Saturday’s UFC 158, according to MMA Junkie.
“I’ll have to talk to him. … First of all, the athletic commission would have to approve that,” White said, adding that he believed Walker’s fight contract, originally with UFC acquisition Strikeforce, was still valid.
Strikeforce closed its doors following the January 12, 2013, event, but not before Walker, a former NFL and USFL running back, was able to rack up two TKO victories in two fights with the organization.
At 51, Herschel Walker still looks the part of an MMA fighter. Men’s Health even named him the fifth fittest man ever on its list of 100. Still, it’s easy to see where White’s skepticism is valid.
The two Herschel Walker MMA fights were less than stellar. His first at Strikeforce: Miami in January 2010 was against Greg Nagy, a fighter who showed little more movement than a tackling dummy (see video below).
His second, a year later, was against Scott Carson, an only slightly more active fighter. Walker won both contests, but it was clear he hadn’t faced upper echelon opponents.
Still, Walker believed he had another fight left when speaking to The LaVar Arrington Show on March 12.
“I would love to do it again,” he said. “I absolutely love MMA. I think it’s an excellent sport and you know what’s so strange about it, is I’m a little bit older so I’m having to work a little bit hard.”
Walker continued: “I tell people all the time, if you want to do this sport you got to get out and you got to train. You can do this but you got to train. You can’t just step out there and think you’re going to fight in that cage because a lot of those guys are trained to hurt you.”
Walker has remained humble in both victories, and his respect for the sport appears to be a common trait for NFL transfers trying to make a name for themselves in the fighting world.
Most recently, NFL cheerleader Rachel Wray even launched her MMA career, reiterating much of what Walker said about the training involved.
But in Walker’s case, he is a heavyweight entering a shallow yet talented division. Even the under-card fighters are capable of hurting you as Walker pointed out.
White may be hesitant because of the emphasis on competition he tries to place on the UFC brand, and the danger this fight would have of becoming an amateur-style contest should he try to match Walker with someone at the same skill level.
At the same time, matching Walker with someone like Mark Hunt could end badly for Walker, and that’s likely something fans wouldn’t wish to see for an athlete, who has defied age, inspired others, and proved a great ambassador of the sport.
Still, Walker looks phenomenal for any age, and even though his third and final fight — which he confirmed this would be on his radio appearance — could be a loss, he appears to have the physical constitution for it.
Furthermore, Walker is an adult, and he seems to know exactly what he’s getting himself in to. Do you think Herschel Walker and his MMA career should get one last shot?