Former British rugby star James Haskell has hung up his rugby boots in favor of another sport. He is gearing up to try his hand in the MMA ring, and he has everything riding on it. The former Wasps and England rugby international will soon be donning his fighting gloves for his first Bellator MMA fight, where he will step into the cage with a soon-to-be-announced opponent at the SSE Wembley Arena in London, England. His initial foray into the sport was delayed earlier in the year, but he’s expected to take to the ring in the coming weeks, and there are high hopes on the 77-capped Englishman, who retired early following a hugely successful rugby career after he suffered injury. Now he is back in action with a vengeance and ready to put up the fight of his life.
All Eyes on Haskell
Haskell’s crossover to the MMA as a fighter will be eagerly watched by many. Rugby fans are expected to follow him into the world of MMA to closely observe his transition into his new choice of career. Haskell is entering the brutal and often violent heavyweight division, which suits his large frame and where the action is fast and furious. Those betting online will do so with caution as he is an unknown quantity, but betting sites are as eager as his fans to get in on the action, waiting in the sidelines to find out who he will be up against following his abrupt exit from the world of rugby last year.
Haskell, who had a colorful rugby career spanning 17 years, spent two lengthy and successful periods with the Wasps before moving to Northampton. However, his last season with the club was plagued with injury. Now his fans are hoping to see him succeed in his new sport. Haskell has already earned himself many followers, and as one of Bellator’s biggest signings this year, he will likely draw attention from fans and rivals across the world of sport.
No Pain No Gain
The former loose-forward rugby player has been a fan of MMA for many years. Contrary to popular belief, he is an experienced fighter, and coming from the world of rugby, he is no stranger to pain. He comes into the new sport with nearly a decade of martial arts training behind him, knowing exactly what he is getting himself into: more pain, injury and lots of choking.
As former captain of the England World Cup Rugby squad, Haskell has a lot to gain reputation wise. He goes into MMA with his eyes wide open, knowing that many other professional sportsmen who shifted sports before him, have tried and failed. But, Haskell, who has long been eyeing a black belt in jujitsu, is confident he is fit and has the experience to tackle his new career plan. While admitting he is a bit rusty at his new sport, he has been quoted as saying he is “excited” about entering the world of MMA.
Bellator bosses are also said to be impressed with the 35-year-old, who has been training five times a week on his fighting techniques at a gym in the depths of Wembley alongside other well-known fighters.
And while the sporting world awaits to see who he will be up against, the chances are that it will be someone of equal footing who will put up a good fight. But for the time being, fans will have to wait in the wings to see who will be entering the cage with this 6ft 4inch giant of a sportsman weighing in at 260lbs. In the meantime, the bets are on as to whether Haskell’s decision to hang up his boots for a combative sport will pay off. Fans are bracing themselves for the day he enters the ring and the countdown is on for the announcement of who he will face. It is only a matter of time.