That's exactly why Matt Mitrione isn't the average athlete.
"When it comes to me and athletics, I feel like I can do anything on the planet," Mitrione told me during an excluxive interview with TapouT VTC. "No matter what it is, I may not do it as well as somebody else, but I'm going to do it pretty damn well."
Since walking into Integrated Fighting Academy two-and-a-half years ago to train with Chris Lytle, Jake O'Brien, and a handful of other fighters, Mitrione has defied the odds against him.
The all-important issues of time and experience haven't caused problems for Meathead, and he's poised to take a gigantic step in the UFC heavyweight rankings if he can knock off Cheick Kongo at UFC 137 in October.
Mitrione is an athlete through and through. He stood out at Purdue a two-position defensive lineman and ultimately found his way to the NFL, where he played for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
But even Mitrione has to be surprised with how quickly he's found success in mixed martial arts, right? Not quite.
"I can't say that I am surprised," Mitrione said. "I'm very, very confident as I'm sure everybody knows by now."
While the ultimate competitor in Mitrione won't admit he's surprised with his performance, he is somewhat pleased with how quickly he's been able to absorb the sport and its endless techniques.
"I'm not really surprised at (being 5-0) but at times I'm pleasantly surprised at how well I pick up certain things," Mitrione said. "The other day I was working over at Randy (Couture's) gym and he showed me something and as soon as he showed it to me I did it again the very next rep. As long as I can maintain it I'm in a good spot."
Mitrione will find out how good of a spot he's really in when he faces Kongo in Meathead's biggest test as a UFC pro. He's more or less dominated his competition through five fights (four KOs) but clearly understands he has a lot of work to do. Mitrione's his own biggest critic, and if he wants to continue to build off of his fast start, he needs to improve the holes in his game.
"Starting out in the UFC, that's like saying my first real football game was in the NFL. I've got to sink or swim or else I'm going to get cut," Mitrione said. "I'm glad I've been successful so far, but I've showed a lot of holes in my game, I've showed a lot of mistakes.
"People get excited about my demeanor in the cage but really I think that it's easy for people to overlook the fact that I have some glaring holes in my takedown defense, even though I'm comfortable on the ground and I'm confident in my abilities to get back up or really do work from the ground, if I ever get to that point, I feel that I've got a lot of developing to do."
Yes, Mitrione has clear holes in his game. He's not ready to contend for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and despite his abundance of confidence, he'll admit that.
But he has a lot to be proud of for what he's accomplished since walking through those Integrated Fighting Academy doors.
And that's exactly what he expected.
Mitrione teaching at TapouT VTC
Mitrione has developed endless new moves and techniques since starting MMA, and he's now sharing that with TapouT's Virtual Training Center. Mitrione is one of over 30 trainers and teaches two modules in stand-up and grappling.
"It's much better than watching YouTube or DVDs because it's explicit and very direct. You can also take it to the gym and say ‘I just saw this, I want to try this piece out.' Or even put it on at the gym and say ‘hey guys let's try this because it looks pretty crafty. I saw Bob get stuck in this the other day,'" Mitrione said of TapouT VTC.
"If you can get something like this younger in your career, the better off you are," he added. "A lot of times, the younger you are in your career, the caliber of coaching isn't really that good because you haven't moved up and are training with a local guy rather than a national or regional guy."