Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Austen Lane retired from the NFL and within a few months started MMA fighting. His next match is on Saturday night at Mavericks at the Jacksonville Landing, part of a 14-fight Combat Night 56 night.
This will be Lane's second fight of a young MMA career that started last November with a win in Orlando at Combat Night 54. He'll be fighting Robert Brothers on Saturday.
"There isn't a lot of tape or YouTube videos on him so I don't have a specific game plan for him," Lane said. "But generally what I did for my first fight and whenever I spar is I try to not rush anything, keep my distance, and use my reach to win. It comes down to sticking to what I'm good at -- striking, focusing on my grappling, and staying calm."
Staying calm, Lane said, is one of the biggest crossovers from his days in the NFL.
"When I was walking to the cage in Orlando the crowd was just booing me as loud as they could because my opponent was from Orlando. As dumb as it's going to sound, I didn't know how intense the crowd really gets. But when the doors shut, I just focus in like I did when I was playing football."
Lane walked away from football last August after a desire to be around his family more met a lack of interest from NFL clubs.
"First, I didn't want to be away from my family. My son is five months old and it's crazy how many new things he picks up in just a week. I wanted to be around for that. Second, I wasn't hearing from any teams that wanted to bring me into training camp. The roster is set at 90 for each team so I knew if I didn't receive a call by August 1, it meant I wasn't high on anyone's list. Last, it was perfect timing to let me pursue other passions."
Those other passions turned out to be MMA fighting.
"One of my favorite things about MMA is that it's the ultimate problem solving sport. I compare it to chess. It's more than just beating the crap out of each other. It's about figuring out your opponent, thinking several moves ahead of them, and then striking at the right time."
"I'm really excited to finally fight in front of a crowd in Jacksonville. I bought a house here because I love the people here. I love this city, I really do. Hopefully I get to see a lot of friends, family, and fans."
You can purchase $25 tickets online here or you can call Austen Lane's gym Bulldog Boxing at 904-982-0063 and get a discounted $20 ticket. You can also message Austen Lane on Facebook for a $20 ticket.