In recent years, martial arts have changed in many ways, mostly due to most of the competition being transferred outside of particular martial arts and into MMA rings and cages. In MMA, combatants can use many different combat techniques and this has led to sportsmen of all types entering the cage.
Those who used to compete in WWE certainly have all the prerequisites to compete in MMA as well, which is why so many WWE combatants ended up transferring and competing in MMA as well. The main reason for that may be monetary, as MMA matches are often well paid for since UFC betting is so popular and many more sponsors want to get involved with it, but also competitive as the matches require even more dedication to win than those in WWE.
We take a look at five of the biggest WWE stars who ended up fighting in UFC and MMA and what it brought them.
- Ken Shamrock
One of the first competitors in UFC, Ken Shamrock made his debut all the way back in UFC1. Ken managed to fight his way to the UFC Superfight Championship title in UFC 6 and held the title all the way into UFC 9.
After losing to Severn in UFC 9, Shamrock made a transition into WWE and was dubbed the world’s most dangerous man while he competed there. After winning both the intercontinental and the tag team titles in WWE in 1998, he returned to the octagon and made his final appearance against Ortiz, ending his career in UFC.
- Phillip Brooks
Better known by his nickname CM Punk, Brooks was one of the top WWE stars over the years. CM Punk won pretty much everything you can win in the competition and was the 13th longest holder of the WWE Champion title. Apart from his competition in WWE, Brooks also competed in the UFC octagons and made a name for himself in the MMA circles as well this way.
- Brock Lesnar
Being the youngest to ever win the WWE Champion title after defeating The Rock at 25 years old, Lesnar is a true WWE legend. After a successful career in WWE, he made a transition into the octagon and started competing in UFC in 2008.
He won the UFC heavyweight champion title in his fight against Randy Couture and defended his belt a total of three times. Lesnar made a return to WWE after losing two consecutive fights against Velasquez and Overeem and has been mostly dedicated to wrestling ever since.
- Ronda Rousey
A lady on our list, Ronda Rousey is one of the biggest names in female MMA. While her career was mostly focused on MMA with occasional WWE fights mixed in there, she made a full transition into the less competitive WWE following WrestleMania 34.
- Dave Bautista
Also known as Batista, Dave Bautista is one of the legendary WWE combatants. His first interaction with MMA happened in 2012 when he faced off against Vince Lucero, winning it on technical knockout. Now 51 years old, Bautista has never returned to UFC but remains undefeated in the octagon. Bautista also made quite a name for himself in Hollywood, appearing in multiple blockbusters that gave him a name outside of the wrestling community as well.