Thursday, April 26, 2018

Five Wrestling Superstars Who Switched To MMA

Five Wrestling Superstars Who Switched To MMA
We all saw Ronda Rousey’s in-ring WWE debut at Wrestlemania 34. Her impressive first fight saw Rowdy Ronda pick up her first WWE win in a mixed tag team match with Kurt Angle. She is obviously a big name signing for the WWE after years of being perhaps the biggest name in UFC but is not the first person to change between the two disciplines. For years, fighters have gone from the WWE to MMA with rather mixed success rates. Let’s take a look at five superstars who did just that.

Ken Shamrock

The most successful person to make the transition from wrestling to MMA was probably Ken Shamrock. The Georgia-born fighter made his wrestling debut way back in 1990 for the Japanese Universal Wrestling Federation. He defeated the fighter Yoji Anjo in his first match and instantly became a popular figure amongst fans.

WWF supporters would have to wait to see Shamrock in action as he took a break from professional wrestling to pursue his ambitions in MMA. Shamrock made his MMA in Japan in 1993 and quickly established himself as a formidable fighter both in Asia and in the US. He was a real pioneer in the sport and became the UFC Superfight Champion in 1995. Just two years later, he made his WWF debut and had a brief feud with The Rock but is best remembered for his time in MMA, so much so that in 2003, Shamrock was inducted into UFC Hall of Fame with a record of 25-8-2 at the time.

CM Punk

One of the most recent WWE superstars to make the transition is CM Punk. The Straight Edge Superstar was a hugely popular figure in the amateur wrestling scene prior to his big break. He made his WWE debut in 2006 and went on to have one of the most stuccessful careers of any WWE superstar in recent years. He is the longest-reigning WWE champion of the modern era and was a real crowd favourite prior to his shocking departure in 2014.

Punk’s next big career move was even more shocking when he announced that he had signed for UFC. He began training in 2015 before making his MMA debut the following year, a first-round defeat to Mickey Gall. It has been a disappointing sports switch for Punk thus far and he will be hoping to set it right at UFC 225. Unfortunately and not for the first time in his career, CM Punk is the underdog. He will be facing off against Mike Jackson, the man who is the odds-on 4/11 favourite at Betway as of 23 April. Let’s hope he can turn that record around.

Brock Lesnar

Another recent transition between the two sports is Brock Lesnar. He made his wrestling debut back in 2000 before a lightning-fast career led him all the way to the WWE Championship. Lesnar became the youngest WWE Champion in history before setting his career in professional wrestling to one side.

Lesnar joined the NFL but after injury cut his professional football career short, he started training in MMA. He made his debut in 2007 and just over a year later became the UFC Heavyweight Champion. His last fight was a non-contest back in 2016 which left Brock Lesnar with an MMA record of 5-3 (1).

Alberto Del Rio

One man who is certainly better known for his wrestling career than his one in MMA is Alberto Del Rio. Dos Caras Jr. was a star name in Mexican wrestling prior to his 2009 move to the WWE. Just two years later he became WWE Champion after cashing in his Money In The Bank at SummerSlam.

It was the highlight of Del Rio’s wrestling career which started way back in 2000 when he stepped into the ring to save his father. Del Rio was a natural and even qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games but made the switch to MMA just a year later to fight in Japan. He once faced the legendary Croatian kickboxer Mirko Cro Copa.


Dave Bautista is a man of many talents but his origins lie in professional wrestling. Batista joined WCW and briefly fought in Ohio Valley Wrestling after his move to the WWF. After some memorable early feuds against the likes of Triple H and The Undertaker, Batista eventually became WWE Champion in 2009 before retaining his title a year later.

By 2010, Bautista had secured a couple of small acting roles and when he stepped away from WWE, many expected him to start acting full-time. That has certainly been the case since then after Bautista secured roles in films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner: 2049 and Spectre but that wasn’t always been the case. In 2012, Bautista made his one and only MMA appearance when he beat Vince Lucero. It was far from the cleanest performance from Bautista which is perhaps why there hasn’t been a second but still, he got the win and has seemingly retired from MMA with a 100% record.