While most 47-year-olds are dreaming of retirement, Herschel Walker is less than a week away from launching his mixed martial arts career at “Strikeforce: Miami.”
In preparation for his heavyweight showdown against Greg Nagy, Walker spent the past several months hibernating inside the American Kickboxing Academy gym, milking every ounce of MMA info from the talented San Jose, California-based team.
“I don’t know how he does it, but just throw the age thing out the window,” head trainer Javier Mendez told Yahoo! Sports. “He is the best student I’ve ever had. Every day he comes to practice 10 to 15 minutes early. He’s never late. Every day he gets better. For a normal 47-year-old, it would be a big disaster.”
But that’s the thing, Walker’s body and mind are clearly atypical for someone just two years from hitting the half-century mark (Herschel turns 48 in less than SIX WEEKS). Just to give you an idea on how different this cat is, as recently as November 2006 he stated on The Jim Rome Show that he still performs 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push ups every morning, the same routine the former Heisman Trophy winner has been doing since high school.
“He’s a freak, but this is not a freak show,” said Luke Rockhold, one of Walker’s main training partners. “He put in three months of training at one of the best gyms in the world. He’s legitimate.”
Although he’s a newcomer to the combat sport, Walker’s work ethic, drive, and physical condition appear to be second to none, however what shocks Rockhold the most about the former NFL great is the fact he barely eats anything.
“He eats one meal a day, at night,” he said of Walker’s meal plan. “He has salad, soup, maybe chicken soup, and bread, and he’s not afraid to put butter on it. He eats no meat and no fish.”
Considering the countless amounts of calories MMA fighters expend while training, it’s amazing Walker is able to push his body to the limits that the violent sport demands. Although his eating habits aren’t anything you would write Richard Simmons about, it’s served him well.
“It’s just what my body has gotten used to,” Walker said. “I just started eating this way in college. I was going to class. I was a very good student, ran track and played football. I was always doing something so it didn’t have time to eat until the evening.”
Walker will look to feast on Nagy inside the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida this Saturday night. Here are the fighters slated to participate on the Showtime broadcast:
David Gomez vs. Craig Oxley
Sabah Homasi vs. John Kelly
Pablo Alfonso vs. Marcos da Matta
Jay Hieron vs. Joe Riggs
Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims
Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy
Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawler
Marloes Coenen vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Strikeforce Women’s Champion)
Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis (Open Welterweight Title)