It was the New York Jets’ bye weekend the past few days and rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson took the time to check out another industry built by warriors — the UFC.
On location at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, UFC 281 featured many fearsome fighters including the newest Jets playmaker and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Don’t worry, Wilson was just spectating this time.
“I wanted to see what it was like [in person],” he told Ryan Gaydos during an interview with Fox News Digital, revealing that he’s been a fan of the sport since high school. The gridiron and the Octagon may be different in many ways but they also share similarities. Chief among them is the competitor’s will to win.
Garrett Wilson Sounds Off on Jets’ Wins, 2022 Chances
The Jets have displayed that sort of strength and defiance in 2022, turning themselves into one of the better football teams in the NFL over the first half of the season. Wilson has been a huge part of that awakening and he explained why all of their success stems from a relentless mindset that’s been instilled throughout the locker room.
“Just coming to work with the right mindset every day and practicing hard,” Wilson told Gaydos. “We all believe that we’re gonna win and we all believe that we’re the best at what we do. Even though the rest of the world don’t believe it. It just takes us and we believe in us. That’s been the mindset around the building.”
The “us against the world” mentality — a popular rallying cry in the NFL, but not one that’s simple to achieve. Everyone truly has to buy in and that’s easier said than done when you’re talking about an organization of 50-plus athletes and even more coaches and staff members.
Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean Wilson or the Jets are starting to get cocky.
Gaydos relayed another quote from the wideout: “We all know that if we don’t go one week at a time and look too far ahead and look to the playoffs, we’re gonna be in the playoffs. We gotta take it one day at a time and one play at a time, honestly. Just focusing on winning our matchup every play and if we do that we’ll be in a good spot at the end of the year.”
We’ve heard head coach Robert Saleh preach that exact play-by-play process that centers around being present in the moment. Clearly, the Ohio State star has bought in and the results speak for themselves.
Garrett Wilson Reveals Jets’ UFC Contenders
The Fox News Digital team also asked Wilson which Jets players could double as UFC fighters if they ever decided that football is not for them. His answers probably won’t surprise you.
“I think Nathan Shepherd, who plays D-line for us or [rookie defensive end] Mike Clemons,” Wilson revealed. “That’s the main one I think that could fight.”
Considering Shepherd once relayed that his superhero alias was the Incredible Hulk, and Clemons has already earned a reputation as the most intimidating first-year prospect of all time, these feel like accurate choices from Wilson.
Both should be important in the coming weeks with starting defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sidelined with an injury. This summer, the coaching staff hinted that Clemons could play inside if needed — similar to John Franklin-Myers. It will be interesting to see if either is called upon at D-tackle after the Week 10 bye.
“Coach Saleh is big too,” the rookie wide receiver added. “I think he could handle [UFC] too.” Clearly, the warrior’s mentality starts at the top.