With the recent merger of WWE and the UFC, we decided to take a look at some of the top WWE wrestlers who have also ventured into the world of mixed martial arts (MMA).
1. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is arguably one of the most well-known names who fought both in MMA and entertained in the ring. He began his career as an amateur wrestler, winning the NCAA Division I Heavyweight Championship in 2000. He then signed with WWE and became one of its biggest stars, winning the WWE Championship multiple times.
In 2008, Lesnar made his MMA debut in the UFC but lost his first fight to Frank Mir. However, he bounced back and went on to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion, defeating Randy Couture. His opposing figure and dominant fighting style make him a force to be reckoned with in both WWE and MMA. He’s had a successful career in both industries and continues to be a top name in the WWE.
Will he return to the Octagon? Who knows, but Lesnar remains a fan favorite in both organizations.
2. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is another wrestler who has made waves in the world of MMA. She began her career as a judoka, winning numerous medals at the Pan American Championships and World Championships. In 2011, she signed with Strikeforce and then made her UFC debut as the first-ever women’s champion. Her feud with Misha Tate made her a ‘heel’ in the world of MMA but that rivalry was unscripted.
Armbars were her specialty both in MMA and in the WWE, just ask Triple H
Rousey also had a stint in the WWE, making her debut at WrestleMania 34 in 2018. She quickly became one of their top stars and headlined multiple events. While Rousey is currently on hiatus from both MMA and WWE, her impact on both industries is undeniable.
3. CM Punk
CM Punk, also known as Phil Brooks, was a top name in the wrestling industry for many years. He began his career in Ring of Honor and then rose to fame in the WWE, becoming one of their biggest stars and winning multiple championships. Fans loved him for his ‘straight edge’ persona and anti-authority attitude.
But in 2014, he shocked the world by announcing his departure from the WWE. This controversial moment is believed to be unscripted but the exact details are unknown. Many speculated that he left due to creative differences and frustration with the company’s direction.
Many fans were disappointed that Punk had left, but little did they know that he was pursuing a career in MMA. In 2016, Punk made his debut at UFC 203 but unfortunately lost the fight. Despite this setback, he continued to train and kept trying. Many laughed at him for this attempt, but I respect the man for entering into the cage. He took the chance to recreate himself in a new spotlight and that’s admirable.
CM Punk’s MMA career didn’t go as planned despite training with Roufus Sport, a top MMA gym. And as for now, it looks like he’s back at WWE. (Maybe where fans appreciate him more.)
4. Dave Bautista
Dave Bautista, also known as Batista, had a successful wrestling career in the WWE before transitioning into Hollywood. He went 1-0 in the cage during his brief MMA career but it was evident that his true calling was in acting. Batista has had a successful acting career, starring in blockbuster films such as Guardians of the Galaxy as Drax the Destroyer, and other big budget films.
Although Dave Baustista’s MMA career was short-lived, he continues to train in BJJ to stay in shape and has expressed interest in potentially fighting again. However, his focus remains on acting and pursuing roles that showcase his talents.
5. Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley may not be as famous as the other wrestlers on this list, but he has a unique career path in both wrestling and MMA. I’ll never forget when him and Donald Trump went toe-to-toe against WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Umaga (R.IP) in a hair versus hair match at Wrestlemania 23.
Although he didn’t have a defining persona like other wrestlers, he was well respected in the industry for his athleticism and physique.
When it comes to MMA, he is 15-2 (at the time of this writing), which is an impressive record for someone competing in both sports. He has found success at Bellator, Strikeforce, and most recently the WWE once again.
6. Cain Velasquez
Nicknamed, ‘Cardio’ Cain Velasquez, he is widely considered one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in UFC history. He has two memorable fights against Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos that helped solidify his legacy as a dominant force in MMA. With non-stop cardio and powerful wrestling, he became known as a relentless fighter that could go the distance. His rivalry with Brock Lesnar continued into the sport entertainment world…
Cain’s reception by fans wasn’t always warm, despite having mentorship from the beloved Rey Mysterio. Some speculated that his stoic personality wasn’t appealing to the masses, but his skill in the octagon could not be denied.
It’s interesting to see which fighter were able to make a successful transition into WWE and why others weren’t able to do so. In contrast, some pro-wrestlers make for great MMA fighters while others like CM Punk failed to achieve success in the octagon.
So which is better? WWE or MMA? Find out in this article:
These WWE wrestlers who fought in MMA inspires us to remember that we can push ourselves beyond our boundaries. With these crossovers, will more pro-wrestlers make the leap into MMA and vice versa?
Let us know what you think in the comments below…