Before I became a die-hard mark for Mixed Martial Arts – I was actually a pretty keen wrestling fan.
I’d actually hosted a college radio show for a year on the trials and tribulations of pro-wrestling and it was quite enjoyable.
The time had come to move on from wrestling, and MMA came knocking on the door with resemblances of what I used to watch.
There are lots of comparisons between pro-wrestling and mixed martial arts. The trash talking, the call outs, even some of the showmanship inside the Octagon can be seen in some wrestling rings.
Certain pro-wrestlers however have began their athletic endevours in MMA. Even current WWE wrestlers that are up there with the top performers.
So here’s a list of today’s WWE pro-wrestlers with winning MMA records:
MMA Record – 15-2
You might only have to look at Bobby Lashley once to know he would probably succeed in an MMA fight. The now 39 year-old began his sporting career in wrestling, but then went into MMA primarily while he was a part-time wrestler with TNA. Lashley used his size and athleticism to his advantage, compiling a 15-2 record with wins over former Pride vet James Thomspson and Ultimate Fighter contestant Wes Sims. Oh, and Bob Sapp for that matter. He primarily competed in Bellator, although he had an early stint with Strikeforce in 2010. 15-2 is pretty respectful for the former amateur wrestling standout.
MMA Record – 5-3-1
Lesnar’s MMA career is pretty well documented. He had just finished a failed stint as part of the Minnesota Viking’s training camp roster, and transitioned to MMA pretty fluidly after that. His arrival into the UFC came at the perfect time – with mostly a roster of ageing heavyweights and lack of bad style matchups. He became a UFC Champion during his initial MMA run, before falling to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem following a bout of diverticulitis. He later returned to the Octagon at UFC 200 beating Mark Hunt, that would later be turned into a No Contest due to a drug failure.
MMA Record – 3-1-1
As was the case with a lot of early 2000s New Japan Pro-wrestlers, Nakamura trained in MMA during his early rumblings in wrestling. He trained particularly in Vale Tudo, and would become primarily a submission artist. He didn’t have the easiest of MMA debuts – fighting cousin of MMA royalty Daniel Gracie on an Inoki New Year’s Eve card. He lost that fight, but would go on to three more MMA wins – most notably his last fight in K-1. Knowing Nakamura and his wrestling persona it’s no surprise he had an MMA stint. It might not be as well documented as some of the others in this list, however.
MMA Record – 8-3-2
NXT standout Matt Riddle was very much a mixed martial artist for most of his life before his current pro-wrestling stint. Riddle fought in Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter before compiling a 12-fight UFC record, going 7-3-2 in the promotion. He was successful for the most part in the UFC, but a mixture of injury problems and drug failures took away most of his prime as a mixed martial artist. He was released from the UFC for his second drug-test failure, later signing with Bellator and fighting for Titan FC before hanging up his MMA gloves for good.
MMA Record – 12-2
Some of these featured wrestlers have under-the-radar MMA careers, but for Ronda the same can’t be said. After a successful Olympic Judo venture – Rousey made a seamless transition into the world of mixed martial arts and dominated from the get go. Her armbar submission victories became a trademark over several winning years. After a long period of being UFC Bantamweight Champion – she eventually ran into Holly Holm in a shock loss and lost her return bout to now-champion Amanda Nunes. Her WWE career switch has worked out quite well though as she main-evented Wrestlemania this year.