There are definitely few Basketball Athletes that could really give a great fight in the UFC as they are known for their aggression.
There aren’t as many fights or skirmishes in today’s NBA as there were in the days of Charles Barkley, Bill Laimbeer and Ron Artest. Most “fights” are simply push matches between players while they wait for a ward. After they are separated, that’s usually when most of the chirping is done.
That was not the case when the Portland Trail Blazers hosted the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Instead of me describing what happened to you, see for yourself what happened when Jusuf Nurkic set a hard (legal) screen on Tyler Herr.
The Detroit Pistons visited the UFC’s training facility in Las Vegas in 2015 as part of a team-building activity. The athletes received training with former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Stefan Struve, and UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin. If I had seven days, I could transform these people into professionals, Griffin boasted. Only five days remain. You’d see UFC professionals if I had seven complete days.
That statement got us at FlurrySports thinking: If Forrest Griffin had time with NBA players, who would make the UFC’s best fighters? Here are five NBA players who would do well in the UFC.
Robert Williams III (Boston Celtics)
Francis Ngannou is now in the lead in the heavyweight division, which is in good shape. Robert Williams III, though, might be able to get away with it a little. Williams is a huge man at 6′ 9″ and 237 pounds, yet he is slender. His enormous 7’6″ wingspan from him, though, is his greatest fighting profile advantage from him.
Williams still had his first fighting years ahead of him at the age of 24. He is the only one who can slow him down. He would be tough to count on to show up for practice and scrimmages due to off-court concerns with basketball being a priority and arriving on time.
Obi Toppin (New York Knicks)
Few players have the athleticism of NBA rival Obi Toppin. At just 22, Toppin has the body of a grown man. Toppin is 6’9″ and weighs 220 pounds. Like Williams, Toppin has a massive 7’2″ wingspan. The range advantage alone makes it a powerhouse.
Toppin would probably have to put on some weight to keep from getting harassed by the bigger guys in the division. His stamina from him would wreak havoc on many heavyweights, such as Derrick Lewis, who wear themselves out early in fights. As long as he could stay out of reach of some heavy hitters, he could surprise some people.
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Isaiah Stewart (Detroit Pistons)
If there’s anyone in the league we know can hit, it’s Isaiah Stewart. After getting hit in the face by LeBron James and bleeding profusely, he kept trying to run back into the fray and drop some bombs. If there’s one thing you need to be able to do in the UFC, it’s being able to shoot and keep going.
Stewart’s background should give him an edge, as he grew up boxing and playing football before basketball. He already has a background in fighting, albeit a small one, and has often talked about how his father instilled hard work in him from a young age. At 250 pounds, he has the weight to keep big heavyweights from pushing him, plus he flashes an impressive 7’4″ wingspan.
Bobby Portis (Milwaukee Bucks)
As previously stated, the majority of NBA scrimmages today are meaningless. Bobby Portis, though, has demonstrated in the past that he will not back down from a genuine battle. Portis also possesses a certain amount of absolute strength in his fists.
The Milwaukee fan favorite is well-known for his toughness and aggressive approach on the court. How little you desire to play with it may be forgotten by many. He was attacked by teammate Nikola Miroti while playing for the Chicago Bulls. Portis delivered a blow to Mirotic’s face with such force that Mirotic needed medical attention for multiple facial fractures and a concussion.
Patrick Beverley (Minnesota Timberwolves)
To stay strong in the UFC, you have to be dirty. No other NBA player encapsulates scraps like Patrick Beverley. The Minnesota guard is also widely known to be a pest to any opponent he faces. His ability from him to get under the skin of opponents would be a great weapon in the UFC. He could easily throw guys off their game and maybe capitalize.
To top it all off, Beverley is not afraid of anyone. There are compilations on YouTube that feature over eight minutes of Beverley ready to shred with opponents. He doesn’t care who you are and isn’t afraid to fight anyone, as seen when he got upset with Jonas Valanciunas earlier this season. Beverley has that “dog mentality” and fearlessness that you just can’t teach.
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