Former England rugby international James Haskell to make MMA debut
Former England international James Haskell has announced that he will be embarking on a new career venture in mixed martial arts.
Haskell, 34, is expected to make his professional MMA debut in 2020, competing in the Bellator heavyweight division, an American mixed martial arts and kickboxing organisation.
Haskell announced the end of his stellar 17-year professional rugby career in May this year, after one season with Northampton Saints.
The former British & Irish Lions flanker joined Wasps in 2002 and played a huge role in their Premiership and Heineken Cup winning seasons in 2007 and 2008. His club career also saw him represent Stade Francais, Ricoh Black Rams, and Highlanders.
Haskell made his England debut in 2007 and went on to win 77 caps, earning inclusion in England’s 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup squads.
Alongside achieving his many rugby accolades, Haskell has shown a keen interest in the sport of MMA for a number of years, working as an MMA TV pundit and training alongside British MMA star Michael “Venom” Page at London Shootfighters gym.
Known as one of sports great characters, Haskell is sure to bring his livewire, quick-witted and at times no-nonsense personality to the sport of MMA – along with genuine, knockout power.
Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing in during his rugby career at 260lbs, Haskell will compete in Bellator’s heavyweight division which features the likes of current champion Ryan Bader, challenger Cheik Kongo, MMA veteran Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.
Whilst a date has not been set for his professional MMA debut, Haskell is expected to continue training for the remainder of 2019, with his first fight expected to take place during the first half of 2020.