Redskins reserve center Erik Cook had an exciting sophomore season, appearing in his first career game (six total), starting his first career game (two total), and seeing quality playing time throughout.
But in order to make an impact on the squad in 2012, Cook told me after the season that he needs to improve his conditioning and his hand speed. In order to do that, he’s traveling back to his native Albuquerque, N.M. to train at the famous Jackson’s Martial Arts And Fitness Academy.
“It’s pretty amazing how hard it is to train for UFC,” he said during locker room clean out day. “I get in there and box with a guy with mitts on, and we go for like three two-minute rounds. By the end of that last set, my arms are just dead.”
Mixed martial arts may not have a lot to do with snapping a ball between your legs, but the training could help him win the war in the trenches. By improving his core and conditioning, he’ll be better able to use his leverage and battle through a 60-minute, 16-game season. By improving his hand speed, he’ll be able to keep defenders in front of him.
And he’ll be doing it with some of the best ultimate fighters in the world, including Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. This is a picture that Cooke recently took with friend, gym-mate and current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones:
Good luck to Cook as he prepares for his offseason training. Just remember to be light on your toes, keep your chin down and gloves up. And double-knot your trunks.