UFC welterweight Jacob Malkoun makes bold claim after ‘crazy’ training session with NRL premiers

He throws his limbs at people for a living but, as tough as he is, Jacob Malkoun was stunned after training with a top-flight NRL team.

penrith panthers at gracie smeaton grange

Australian UFC fighter Jacob ‘Mamba’ Malkoun believes NRL players could cross over to MMA easier than first thought – if they wanted it enough.

The 26-year-old Sydneysider trained and wrestled with some of the Penrith Panthers when they visited his gym Gracie Smeaton Grange last October.

“These guys are all so athletic, strong and explosive. If they fought or grappled, they would be extremely dangerous,” Malkoun tells 7NEWS.com.au.

“They are freak athletes, and they came in with such a humble attitude.

“The hard work they put in during that training session was amazing to watch.”

A Penrith fan himself, Malkoun was elated when he got the chance to wrestle with some of the best rugby league players in the world.

coach Jacob Malkoun training Penrith Panthers NRL team at Gracie Smeaton Grange

“I was coaching the players, but I also got to wrestle a few of them, which was awesome,” Malkoun said.

“For a lot of them it was their first time doing any grappling training, so they didn’t have much technique.

“But that didn’t matter, they are so strong and so hard to take down.”

Malkoun, 26, fights at welterweight (83kg) and mostly wrestled the smaller players on the team.

But even so, he said they were a handful to deal with.

“I got to wrestle Apisai Koroisau, Dylan Edwards, Mitch Kenny and a few others,” he said.

“All those guys were strong as.”

Jacob Malkoun coach kids mma at Gracie Smeaton Grange

MMA values for kids

Malkoun’s love of MMA doesn’t just stem from hoping to one day become a UFC champion. The middleweight fighter’s true love lies in teaching mixed martial arts and its values to younger generations.

“I love coaching and being in the gym on the mat and teaching – especially younger kids,” ‘Mamba’ said.

“I don’t look to coach people to be champion fighters, my goal is to give the kids that come in confidence, discipline and respect.

Jacob Malkoun coach with blue belt students at Gracie Smeaton Grange

“If they become good at fighting that’s great, but the main thing is the important values you get from it (training MMA and jujitsu).

“A lot of the time I feel like I’m not only teaching them self defence but key values to take with them in life.”

Malkoun says those values will prepare them to be ready and resilient for the outside world.

“Every day these kids come in they are getting tougher mentally,” he said.

“When terrible things happen in their lives, they have the strength to overcome it.”

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