Popular Wrestlers Who Fought in MMA
Over the years there have been several professional wrestlers who have either jumped into the world of MMA and stayed there or tried their hand at a few fights. There are also several wrestlers who made a name for themselves in the cage before becoming superstars in the ring.
If you saw a card with some of these wrestlers lined up to fight, the MMA odds were often in your favor too. Here are a few popular wrestlers who put on their gloves in the MMA octagon.
Brock Lesnar is easily one of the most popular wrestlers of all time and one of the few that became a giant in both pro wrestling and MMA. Lesnar spent seven years in wrestling before making his way into MMA in 2007.
Lesnar would go on to become the heavyweight champion in the UFC and finished with a record of 5-3-0, with one no-contest.
Dave Bautista has gone on to become a big star outside of the fighting world, but he’s another wrestler that had a very short but successful MMA career. He spent 20 years in the wrestling industry but took the plunge into MMA in 2012.
Bautista made his debut for Strikeforce in 2012 and went on to beat Vince Lucero via TKO. With that being his one and only fight, he ended his MMA career with a record of 1-0-0.
Dan Severn was a one-man wrecking machine that dominated both MMA and pro wrestling. He participated in pro wrestling across multiple promotions, notably in the WWF and NWA, where he was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Severn’s MMA record is mindblowing, to say the least. He fought in 127 fights, winning 101 of them. He is in the UFC Hall of Fame, and is widely regarded as one of the people who pioneered mixed martial arts.
Along with Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock is another fighter that paved the way for the world of MMA. In pro wrestling, Shamrock fought on the independent circuit, TNA, New Japan, and the WWF.
Shamrock had a very long and fairly successful MMA career; he finished his career with a record of 28-11-2 and is part of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Alberto Del Rio
For a while, Alberto Del Rio was “the man” in the WWE. He was a champion and was a fan-favorite heel for a long time. He had a fairly long stint as an MMA fighter while he was also doing wrestling.
While Del Rio won multiple titles in pro wrestling, his MMA career didn’t yield the same success. He had 15 fights in total, winning nine and losing five, with one no-contest.
Bobby Lashley is another fighter that has had both a successful wrestling and MMA career. He has been a champion in both the WWE and TNA, and while he wasn’t crowned champion in a major MMA promotion, he had a very successful record.
In Lashley’s 15 fights, he only had two losses and was the Shark Fights and XFN Heavyweight champion.
You can’t talk about pro wrestling or MMA greats without mentioning Kazushi Sakuraba. Many legends in both sports have praised him as being one of the most technically gifted fighters of all time in both wrestling and mixed martial arts.
Sakuraba’s achievements are seemingly endless, and he is regarded as one of the fighters that paved the way for Japanese fighters to enter the mainstream. His record, which currently sits at 26-17-1, with two no-contests, is in no way a true reflection of his incredible skill.
Masakatsu Funaki is another Japanese legend that has found success in pro wrestling, MMA, and Pancrase. He holds victories in Pancrase against UFC giants such as Ken and Frank Shamrock and Bas Rutten.
Considering Kazushi Sakuraba is arguably a bigger fighter, Funaki certainly holds the better record. He has 55 MMA fights and ended his mixed martial arts career with a record of 40-13-2.
CM Punk is one of those wrestlers that was wildly popular and successful but couldn’t take his talents into the octagon. After talking up his debut in the cage, he had only two fights: he lost one, and the other ended in a no-contest. Punk arguably has the worst MMA record of any wrestler who has tried it out.