As time goes by, more and more wrestlers are moving away from the likes of the WWE into the more aggressive and potentially dangerous UFC in a bid to show the world how much of an amazing fighter they really are.
This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Those moving away from the world of wrestling into other sectors of fighting technically started the shift in 1974, when pro wrestler Antonio Inoki took on the great Muhammad Ali in a bout billed as The War of the Worlds.
So, who has joined Antonio in the move since then? Quite a few wrestlers, in fact! Today we’ll be looking at some of the most significant of those to make the switch. You’ll definitely recognize a name or two from this list.
If you watched wrestling back in the day but have moved on to the UFC since then, there’s a good chance that you’ll be a fan of some of the people in this list. If that’s the case, why not back with them a bet or two? Just make sure you check out this guide to UFC betting before you do that.
Let’s start at the beginning. The first wrestler to ever move to the UFC was Dan Severn. This happened all the way back in 1994 and at the time, people didn’t really know what to make of it.
Dan did, in fact, become somewhat of a pioneer as he paved the way for many other wrestlers to move over. He’s a legend of the game! And he still actually wrestles to this day.
Severn is an exemplary fighter. Having started his wrestling career at the beginning of the 1990s, he has never given up and his career has now spanned an impressive 31 years.
He has dipped in and out of the UFC. Having joined the sport in 1994, he cut ties with it in 2013 but then rejoined in 2016 and continues to fight there to this day. Amazingly, Dan Severn is the only Triple Crown UFC champion. What a man!
Here’s a household wrestling name that everyone knows. The legendary Brock Lesnar has been big in the game for many years and shows no signs of giving up any time soon, despite being 44 years of age.
We remember his first few years in the WWE, after he first signed there in 2000. He fought there for seven years before deciding in 2007 that he needed a change of scenery.
At that point, Brock made the switch to the UFC and tore it up there as well. He became the UFC Heavyweight Champion in 2008 but unfortunately had to retire from there and moved back to wrestling in 2011, due to health complications.
Moving to the UFC wasn’t the only expedition away from the WWE that Brock ever took. Funnily enough, he fancied himself as a football player in 2004 and decided to try out with the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, as he was cut before the season started.
Brock, however, hasn’t given up on the WWE. He’s currently the champion and was recently advertised for Raw. Keep it up, Brock Lesnar!
Here’s a man with a very extensive record in both wrestling and the UFC. In fact, a lot of people consider Kazushi to be one of the best Japanese fighters of all time, and we’d be inclined to agree with them.
Let’s take a look at his illustrious career. Kazushi entered professional wrestling and the UFC in the same year, 1993. While he has continued in the UFC since then, to this day he has had an on-off relationship with wrestling to some extent.
Kazushi quit for a year in 1996, and then in 1998 gave up wrestling all the way through till 2012, when he was welcomed back into the sport with open arms.
A lot of people have called Kazushi the “Gracie Hunter”, after he defeated four members of the Gracie family throughout his career – a record that nobody else has even come close to. On top of that, he was the first Japanese champion in UFC history. That is quite the accolade.
Last thoughts on wrestlers in the UFC
These three incredible fighters are just the tip of the iceberg! There are a bunch of others who have made the move and should be recognized for their adaptability. We wonder which current wrestler will be next to make the transition.