Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas said he has no interest in picking up a second career as an MMA fighter, and that while he is a fan of the sport he’s not even sure he’d consider it once he is done playing football.
“The guys were giving me [a hard time] all day,” the defensive captain said of a report that he is “very close” to signing with Hispanic MMA promotion Combate Americas. Casillas refuted that report.
As for the future …
“I know people that when they’re done playing football they have to find something to keep those competitive juices flowing,” Casillas said with a grin. “I might say no now, but then six months after I retire I might be hitting the bag and going to jiu jitsu classes with my daughter.”
Casillas said that just because he is a big, strong professional athlete in football does not mean he could become a successful MMA fighter.
“We’re talking about people who fight to make their money,” he said. “People who were born fighters. My hat goes off to all the people who do that for a living and actually make money at it. We’re talking about real fighting here, no masks on, light gloves, and almost anything is possible to do in the ring besides like biting. I wouldn’t think that I’d be able to just transfer over and have success there like it’s an easy thing to do. No, it’s not that easy.”
It certainly presents an alluring alternative to some football players, though. Former Panthers and Cowboys DE Greg Hardy is training for his MMA debut in 2017, according to MMAFighting.com.
“I’m very focused and excited to start my MMA career,” Hardy said in a statement provided to the website. “I’m going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that.”
Casillas was asked about Hardy’s transition.
“I know people who enter the octagon or entered MMA from outside sports and had, um, mixed success,” he said. “I wish the best of luck to him.”