LOCALS IN THE NFL

UFC President Congratulates Puka Nacua For Breaking NFL Records

Jan 8, 2024, 10:24 AM

Dana-White-UFC-Puka-Nacua-Los-Angeles-Rams-NFL...

UFC President Dana White at the UFC 229 Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall on September 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) and Puka Nacua #17 of the Los Angeles Rams against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITYUFC president Dana White congratulated former BYU Cougars wide receiver Puka Nacua after the Los Angeles Rams rookie broke multiple NFL records during the final week of the 2023 regular season.

Dana White congratulates Rams WR Puka Nacua

The San Francisco 49ers hosted the Nacua and the Rams for a Week 18 contest at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, January 7.

RELATED: Local Players Post Historic Performances In Final Week Of Regular Season

During the Rams’ 21-20 victory, the former BYU star set new league marks for the most receptions and receiving yards by an NFL rookie wideout.

Following Nacua’s accomplishments, the face of UFC applauded Nacua for breaking the NFL records.

“Congrats @AsapPuka for breaking the all-time rookie record for receptions and receiving yards!” White posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It could not happen to a better human. We are all so happy for you and PROUD of you!!!!!”

It’s not the first time that White has congratulated Nacua. During the Orem High product’s college career at BYU, the UFC president congratulated Nacua for scoring a touchdown in BYU’s shootout victory over the Virginia Cavaliers.

Before moving to the state of Utah, Nacua and his family lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is also home to UFC headquarters.

While in Las Vegas, Nacua grew up playing Pop Warner football with White’s son, Dana III, per Robby McCombs.

Puka Nacua breaks NFL records in regular season finale

The first record Nacua set a new mark for was for the most receiving yards by a rookie.

With his third catch of the afternoon, Nacua reached 35 receiving yards for the game. The catch moved him ahead of Bill Groman’s rookie record of 1,473 receiving yards in a single season. Groman set the rookie record for receiving yards in 1960.

Previously, Nacua tied the mark with his second catch of the contest, which was a 19-yard touchdown on the Rams’ opening drive of the game.

With his fourth reception of the game, Nacua surpassed Jaylen Waddle’s previous mark of 104 catches by a rookie in a single season. Waddle set the record in 2021.

After breaking the receptions record, Rams head coach Sean McVay pulled Nacua from the game. The rookie finished the afternoon with four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.

Nacua came into the game having recorded 101 receptions for 1,445 yards and five touchdowns this season.

During his rookie campaign, Nacua had already broken multiple NFL records for a first-year player and has seen his Rams jersey become a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Before Week 18, Nacua was named to the Pro Bowl Games for his play this season.

During the regular season, Nacua recorded 105 catches (ranks ninth in the NFL) for 1,486 yards (fourth in the NFL) and six touchdowns.

With the win over the Niners, the Rams finished the regular season with a 10-7 record. Los Angeles clinched a playoff berth before the Week 18 game.

Los Angeles will open the postseason with a road contest against the Detroit Lions during Super Wild Card Weekend. The Lions will host the Rams at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, January 14 at 6 p.m. (MT) on KSL 5 TV.

About Puka Nacua

Before his college career, the Provo, Utah native played high school football at Orem High School. He finished his career with the Tigers as the owner of multiple state records.

Nacua helped the Tigers win back-to-back 4A state titles in 2017 and 2018.

After high school, the receiver attended the University of Washington and played a couple of seasons for the Huskies.

During his two years in Seattle, Nacua had 16 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

After the 2020 season, Nacua returned home to Provo and transferred to BYU. He immediately became a star for the Cougars.

In 2021, Nacua hauled in 43 receptions for 805 yards and six touchdowns. Despite battling injuries last season, Nacua recorded 48 catches for 625 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. He also ran for 209 yards and five touchdowns in his final season at BYU.

Nacua finished his BYU career with a total of 91 catches for 1,430 yards and 11 touchdowns as a receiver. He added 39 carries for 357 yards and five touchdowns with his legs.

In April 2023, the Rams selected Nacua with the No. 177 overall pick during the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on Threads (@kyleirelandksl), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl). and X (@kyleireland).

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UFC President Congratulates Puka Nacua For Breaking NFL Records