Two seasons as a starter into his NFL career, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP accolades to his credit.
Along with that acclaim has come an abundance of opponents' respect and befuddlement.
Just one season into his NFL career, defensive end Maxx Crosby of the archrival Raiders knows there's no surefire way of containing Mahomes the magnificent.
"There's not an exact formula to stop Mahomes," Crosby said in a recent interview with mixed martial arts reporter “The Schmo.” "But, being disruptive, getting in his face, causing disruption and making plays [is what needs to be done]. We gotta make plays and we gotta beat Kansas City."
Indeed, the reigning Super Bowl-champion Chiefs have owned the AFC West for four seasons running.
Last season, Crosby had a Raiders-high 10 sacks, but none against the Chiefs. Kansas City, which has won five in a row versus the Silver and Black, dominated the Raiders by a combined 68-19 score last season. Crosby, who's been making the media rounds, is definitely aiming to chase down Mahomes and the Chiefs in a manner different from last year.
And Crosby is excited about his and the Raiders' prospects going forward.
"I'm not gonna predict anything," Crosby said when asked about how many sacks he would turn in in 2020. "I'm just gonna do what I do, play to the best of my ability. Definitely make a lot of plays and make some noise."
Team-wise, Crosby also believes the Raiders have a big year ahead after going 7-9 in 2019.
"Raider Nation, we are going to make some noise. We're gonna have an amazing season. Hopefully we can get everyone in the crowd so we can just take over this thing."
Crosby, who added he's been training with Jaguars defensive end Cassius Marsh in Southern California, is also an avid MMA fan – hence the interview. At UFC 248 in Las Vegas, Crosby was on hand and got to meet UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov (28-0, 18 finishes) has become a dominant force thanks in large part to his wrestling base. He's also nicknamed the Eagle, whereas Crosby's earned the moniker of the Condor.
"Khabib is, he's an animal. He's one of the best fighters in the world," Crosby said of Nurmagomedov, who's ranked No. 2 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings and is one of only two current undefeated UFC champions. "Getting to meet the Eagle, being a Condor, it was a pretty cool connection."
Is Nurmagomedov the greatest of all-time, though? In Crosby's opinion, that title goes to former longtime UFC middleweight king Anderson "The Spider" Silva. During his heyday from 2006-2012, Silva at one point won 17 straight bouts with 15 stoppages.
"He just finished everybody," Crosby said of the Brazilian standout whose pinpoint striking was a hallmark of his success. "He knocked people out, he'd kick them in the head. He would choke them out. He always found a way. He defended his title 11 times. I think he's the original GOAT."
Who's the GOAT at doing what Crosby does, though? Or as he was asked, who's on his Mount Rushmore of defensive linemen?
"You definitely gotta put Reggie White, Bruce Smith. There's so many, that's hard," Crosby said. "For me personally, I think Jared Allen is up there. That's my personal, people probably won't agree with it. Those three and then, I'll say, as a pass rusher, you gotta say Lawrence Taylor. He's definitely up there, too. And Aaron Donald's on his way. There's too many to say. There's some names for you."
Mad Maxx, the Condor or just Crosby could very well be a name to get to know when it comes to discussing the game's top current pass rushers.