Drifting to another sport after retiring from a previous one seemed to be the new trend among athletes at present. Former NBA player Royce White says his basketball days are over as he’s now gearing up for a career at mixed martial arts.
Houston Rockets’ first-round draft pick in 2012 is currently honing his combat skills for an aim at competing in the UFC’s heavyweight division, thus seizing the belt one day.
The 6’8″, 260-pounder is dead serious about the new game that he hired a full-time trainer to become a professional fighter and even wrote a book entitled “MMA x NBA: A Critique of Modern Sport in America” detailing his transition between sports.
In a recent interview, White who has been training for almost seven months bragged about the essential skills he racked up in basketball that will translate to him being a great prospect in MMA.
White is a basketball star who’s celebrated for both his athletic gift and mental health advocacy, known for going against the NBA and Houston Rockets for the way they deal with persons suffering from mental health issues.
The former NBA player was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a grade schooler which he openly talked about while he was in the sport.
One of the major issues the basketball organization and team has dealt with in White’s case was riding an aeroplane. Fortunately, he was able to hash out a deal with the NBA to travel to games by bus.
The 27-year-old has been a fan of mixed martial arts and was even hooked up with famed MMA coach Greg Nelson who has trained ex-UFC champion Brock Lesnar.
Despite this, the native of Minnesota stressed that his shift to combat sports is not a publicity stunt and he has been a fan of MMA since he was young.
— Royce White (@Highway_30) February 27, 2019
Talking to The Last Renaissance, White said he is targetting the esteemed MMA promotion’s heavyweight gold
“I’m coming for the UFC heavyweight crown.”
“I’m one of the best athletes in the world. Among the NBA community, part of my appeal as a draft prospect was my unique size, athleticism, vision and that I probably have one of the 10 biggest set of hands in the NBA,” White told ESPN in a separate interview.
“I think all of those things will translate beautifully to the UFC.”
“I’ve always been a fan of the fight game since I was young. I played point guard as a 265-pounder in the NCAA. In order to do so, not only do you have to have great court vision, you have to have great tempo and great footwork,” White continued.
“Those things naturally translate to the fight game. I’m excited about it, but more so than anything, I’m excited about learning this thing that I’ve loved from the sidelines for so long, and applying it.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Royce White