Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has started a professional career in Brazilian jiu-jitsu years after his retirement from active football reports.

Ikeme took over from Vincent Enyeama after the latter retired from the national team. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers man was great in between the sticks in his ten appearances for Nigeria.

Unfortunately, his career was cut short. Ikeme had to retire from professional football at the age of 29 because of leukemia.

Ikeme eventually won the battle against the disease, but he was unable to return to football.

However, the 36-year-old fell in love with something else. The former Wolves man decided to go into martial arts.

Ikeme revealed in an interview that he was always interested in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but he decided to try it out when he saw the advert for a taster session at a petrol station.

 “I was just filling up my car at a petrol station near home and saw a sign for Gracie Barra, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy in Sutton Coldfield,” Ikeme told Express and Star.

“I had always wanted to try that discipline, so I signed up for a taster session.

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“I was in really good shape at the time, it was around when I had done the 100-mile Velo cycle ride for charity.”

“But I went along to the class, and I remember being absolutely gassed after a three-minute round.

“My legs were cramping, my back was in bits, and I suddenly realized that you don’t really know anything about fighting until you actually do it!”

The hobby has now become a profession for Ikeme, as he since become a British open-age champion.

He also won a bronze medal at the European Championships in Rome last year.

 “Competition really wasn’t in my mind at the start,” Ikeme added.

“I just wanted to learn an art, and I found it all a really humbling experience, to be honest.

“And it’s about realizing that nothing else matters when you are on the mat as its just two people concentrating on trying to get the better out of each other.”