I caught up with the former UH star right after he finished a training session in the Octagon and he was nice enough to give me a few minutes of his time. I'd met and talked with Chad a bunch before so this really wasn't anything new, but as one of the truly good guys to ever play at UH, it was always nice to see for myself that he was doing well (aside from the occasional sportscenter or local news highlight I don't see much of him while he's in Canada).
In case the picture attached to the post isn't enough to clue you in, Chad is currently using his offseason time to pursue another goal in addition to football. Mixed Martial Arts. It might be old news that he's back here and training, but the way that it's helped him stay fit is pretty obvious.
He was really, genuinely excited to talk MMA with me. More excited perhaps, than he's ever been to talk football (except when he was here at UH). And I say good for him. There are people (mainly in Canada) who are criticizing him for getting in the ring, but really can you blame him? He's turning 31 on April 3rd, 3 days before his fight, and as has become painfully obvious to the public, NFL (as well as CFL) players don't typically have a shelf life much longer than that (unless you're a kicker or a punter or Mark Brunell). By training the way he is now, he'll be setting himself up for the future. Not as an athlete or as a fighter but to me, as a trainer. Owens already has a complex out on the west side where prospective athletes can go to train, and the knowledge and skill he gains right now he can bring out to help others. It spoke volumes to me that his sparring partner this evening was a female fighter and that he looked to be doing as much coaching and encouraging as he was practicing.
So, for those that are curious (or don't already know), his fight under the moniker "Destiny MMA", is going to be on April 6th at the Blaisdell Arena. Keep in mind that Owens is not the first football player to use MMA or martial arts to train before a season and he certainly won't be the last. Good Luck Chad!