Gerald McCoy studies Muhammad Ali to prepare for NFL games

Gerald McCoy

Gerald McCoy is a master of his craft, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle’s study habits have likely influenced his impact on the field.

In a video posted by JoeBucsFan, McCoy shared what he’s gathered from watching Ali, who is considered the greatest boxer in the history of the sport.

“His mindset is really what it was. He felt like he was the best, he knew he was the best. It was just about preparing that way and going out and performing that way. It wasn’t arrogance; It was a confidence he had about himself. You can take little bits from everything he did.”

The 27-year-old also cited Ali’s ability to find “a different way to prepare for what he’s facing.”

McCoy might not float like a butterfly, but the 6-foot-4, 300-pounder certainly stings like a bee.

He’s tallied 18 sacks over the last two seasons and is considered one of the league’s premier defensive tackles. McCoy is a key to Tampa Bay’s defense, which has an opportunity to help the Buccaneers inch closer toward the top of the division.

If McCoy and Co. can give quarterback Jameis Winston multiple chances to steal a victory—especially within the weak NFC South—Tampa Bay can compete for a playoff spot in 2015 as well as in the years to come.

Qualifying for the postseason would help McCoy take a significant step toward reaching what Ali was: a champion.