Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chad Owens is exchanging his receiving gloves for padded mixed martial arts gloves.
The former University of Hawaii Warrior receiver is putting in his final preparations for his MMA debut at Destiny's "Na Koa III" on April 6th at the Blaisdell arena.
Owens is fresh off a record setting season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. One that saw him accumulate a CFL record 3,863 total yards, becoming the first professional football player to rack up at least three-thousand total yards in three straight seasons. Owens was named the league's Most Outstanding Player and helped Toronto win the 100th Grey Cup.
Still in the prime of his career, Owens says getting in the ring is more about experimentation than a career change.
" I wanted to get into something new. A new challenge. Something to keep me hungry. I always wanted to get into it sometime and this off season I thought would be the perfect time."
His coach for the past few months, former UFC veteran, Scott Junk says what Owens may lack in ring experience he makes up for natural ability and determination.
"He shows up gives 110-percent and at the end of the day, when it's all over, there's a puddle on the floor where Chad was training. Chad puts in work." says Junk. "If you had to market him and compare him to somebody, he's like Rashad Evans. He's really explosive and really smooth and he's relaxed but he's powerful."
The Roosevelt high graduate will face Junya Tevaga of Maui who is also making his making his first appearance in an MMA bout. You'd think there might be some anxiety involved in the reality of someone trying to take his head off sans shoulder pads. Instead of focusing on the negative, the 31 year old will use those butterflies as fuel.
"It's kind of like football right? You go to training camp and you practice, practice, practice. You can't wait until you get to that game so you can hit somebody else. I've been training, training, training, and training and that fight night, that's that game," says Owens, "I'll be able to just let my hands go until someone stops me or until i can't throw no more."
Tickets for the event are expected to go on sale Wednesday, March 20 at 9am.