• June 20, 2021

Exclusive: WWE stars who were tough MMA fighters from Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, Ken Shamrock and Dave Bautista

 Exclusive: WWE stars who were tough MMA fighters from Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, Ken Shamrock and Dave Bautista


Just because WWE is scripted doesn’t mean it’s fake. Nor does it mean the men and women inside professional wrestling can’t handle themselves.

A lot of the performers have been huge in height and muscular stature, but that doesn’t always equate to tough.

Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar are two heavyweights with real life credentials

Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar are two heavyweights with real life credentials

But, you better believe WWE has had a lot of ‘badasses’ on their roster down the years. In fact, many of them have proven themselves in MMA before getting into professional wrestling.

Below is a list of names that nobody will be taking liberties with inside a wrestling ring!

Brock Lesnar

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Brock Lesnar left WWE in 2004 with dreams of pursuing a career in the NFL, but a road accident meant he was cut at the last minute from the Minnesota Vikings.

Being a former NCAA Division 1 heavyweight wrestling champion, he pivoted his skills to the UFC and inside four fights became their heavyweight champion. He successfully defended the belt twice before diverticulitis plagued the latter part of his MMA career.

In a world outside of Conor McGregor, Lesnar is regarded as one of the biggest box office attractions in the history of the sport.

Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir had a legendary feud in UFC

Getty

Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir had a legendary feud in UFC

Shayna Baszler

Up until 2017, Bazler had a long MMA career where she amassed a record of 15-11. The Submission Magician is one of the Four Horsewomen of MMA alongside Ronda Rousey.

The 40 year old had two fights in UFC and even though she lost both, it’s worth noting she lost to Bethe Corriea and the woman who is generally considered the greatest female mixed martial artist ever, Amanda Nunes. No shame there.

Baszler was granted her release from UFC in 2015 to pursue a career in pro wrestling.

The Four Horsewomen of MMA include (from left to right) Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke

The Four Horsewomen of MMA include (from left to right) Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke

Matt Riddle

Casual fans may have seen Riddle acting dopey on WWE TV and not know he was once in the UFC and on a five-fight win streak.

The middleweight won five in a row, but two of them were ruled no contests after he tested positive for cannabis. As a result, UFC president Dana White released him from the company and Riddle chose to pursue pro wrestling.

Riddle had one Fight of the Night and one Submission of the night award in UFC. He may sport a laid back demeanour, but he’s a dangerous man.

Matt Riddle always wanted to move into wrestling

Getty Images – Getty

Matt Riddle always wanted to move into wrestling

Ken Shamrock

You could argue that Ken Shamrock was the first major name to crossover from MMA into pro wrestling and he’d venture back, too.

Shamrock fought at UFC 1 back in 1993 and by the time he reached WWE in the late 1990s, he had a record of 23 wins, two draws and just five losses.

As ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’, Shamrock brought MMA into WWE and many would cite him as the blueprint moving forward. His last UFC appearance came in 2006, but he fought in Bellator ten years later and fought in IMPACT Wrestling as recently as January 2021.

Shamrock competed at the very first UFC event in 1993

YouTube | UFC

Shamrock competed at the very first UFC event in 1993

Dave Bautista

The WWE legend left the company in 2010 after eight great years on the main roster and decided to try his hand at MMA.

The Animal had always enjoyed training in MMA and he had a fight for CES MMA against 40-fight veteran Vince Lucero.

Bautista knocked him out in the first round. He had been in talks to fight for Strikeforce, but those fell through when the company was bought out by UFC. Batista would pivot to acting instead of pursuing MMA further.

Batista had the frame for wrestling and his bodybuilding background quickly helped him

WWE

Batista had the frame for wrestling and his bodybuilding background quickly helped him

Bobby Lashley

The current WWE champion competed in MMA from 2008 until 2016 and amassed an impressive record of 15-2.

He was on a five-fight win streak in Bellator before he decided to make his return to WWE and concentrate on wrestling full-time again.

The heavyweight is no doubt an imposing figure, but now he is 45 in July and the chance to see how far he could have gone seems to have passed by.

Bobby Lashley in Bellator

Bobby Lashley in Bellator

Ronda Rousey

Another obvious one, but Rousey is one of the most influential women in the history of combat sports and she was one of UFC’s biggest box office sensations.

At one point, Rousey was 12-0 between Strikeforce and UFC. She won every single contest in the first round except one and that was when she stopped Meisha Tate in the third round of their second contest.

She put nine of her foes away with an armbar. After losses to Holly Holm and then Amanda Nunes, Rousey retired and wrestled for one year from WrestleMania 34 to main eventing WrestleMania 35, becoming one of the first three women ever to do so. She is now pregnant and expecting her first child.

Ronda Rousey – Both of them!

Ronda Rousey is a UFC legend

Shinsuke Nakamura

The Japanese star joined WWE in 2016, but back in the early 2000s in his early 20s, he fought for real.

All of Nakamura’s fights took place in Japan and although he lost his opening fight, he would win three along with a no contest to go 3-1-1.

The King of the Strong Style’s final fight went down in 2004 before deciding to fully focus on professional wrestling.

Nakamura scored a huge victory to seal his SummerSlam challenge

Nakamura has won the Royal Rumble during his time with WWE

Sonya Deville

These days, Sonya Deville is a WWE official on-screen making matches with Adam Pearce, but the 27 year old started off as a mixed martial artist.

Deville started fighting back in 2014 and won her first two fights with stoppages, but she lost her third fight via unanimous decision.

Three months after her third fight, Deville tried out for WWE’s Tough Enough, a show where WWE make prospects compete against each other in a series of tasks for a WWE contract. She did not win, but Deville was signed by WWE after the show.

Sonya Deville during her days on Tough Enough

WWE

Sonya Deville during her days on Tough Enough





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