In recent years many of the WWE’s top stars have transitioned to MMA. Notably Brock Lesnar was very successful capturing the UFC heavyweight championship after beating Randy Couture in 2008 and going on to defend his belt two times. Other top wrestlers like Batista and Bobby Lashley have faired well in the octagon. And then there has been unsuccessful wrestlers like Bam Bam Bigelow and more recently CM Punk.
With that being the case there has been no MMA star who has turned into a professional wrestler and competed in the WWE. So here we take a look at the Mixed Martial Artists who could make the easy transition into pro wrestling.
10. Paige VanZant
After Brock Lesnar fought at UFC 200, rumours were flying around that a UFC fighter would go the other way. One of the names constantly popping up was Paige VanZant. She was expected to make an appearance at SummerSlam 2016, but it never came to fruition.
Although she isn’t the most dominant in the Octagon, VanZant is one of the most popular female fighters on the UFC roster. This is partly due to her work outside the UFC, her modelling career and her stint on Dancing With the Stars accelerated her popularity within the UFC, making her a main event fighter. Not too mention her good looks have made her popular with many. She has a lovely personality and is liked by many, making her perfect to be a ‘face’. And a worthy opponent of a great ‘heel’ like Alexa Bliss.
9. Jon Jones
Jon Jones is in my opinion the greatest of all time, giving him the most legitimacy of anyone in the sport. I feel as if he could go over to the WWE and get a believable win over anyone, even a monster like Braun Strowman.
Furthermore, Jones always finds himself surrounded by controversy, which could pave the way to a gimmick as the ultimate ‘heel’. Jones has a nasty side to him and if he let that side of him loose, just imagine the heat he will get. In the UFC, fans boo Daniel Cormier but just imagine it being the other way around.
Jones is charismatic as hell and would be able to control a large crowd just with his voice alone.
8. Frank Mir
Frank Mir is currently suspended due to his Anti-Doping violation, during his suspension he has asked for his UFC contract to be terminated so he can pursue other career avenues. In an interview with Ariel Helwani he expressed his desire to try and compete in the WWE. He has also expressed his desire for a third fight with Brock Lesnar. By the time both fighters suspensions are over they will be well past their best at 39 & 40 years old, meaning a bout in the octagon could be out of the question. This could potentially pave the way for their feud to continue in the WWE. The match would be a PPV hit and would gather interest from die hard fans and casual fans alike. The rivalry has never truly been settled and the WWE could be the place to do so.
7. Donald Cerrone
The man is associated with drinking buds and kicking ass, remind you of anyone? Cerrone is the MMA version of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. Cerrone couldn’t be anymore American donning his cowboy hat whilst his nickname is ‘Cowboy’, making him perfect to play the American hero. The two men don’t look too dissimilar either, if that helps.
He is adored by fans for his activity and willingness to take fights on short notice. Cerrone would take on anyone at any weight, making a feud with anyone larger than himself believable.
Cerrone also has a cameo role in ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, so he now has acting experience to his name. He is not the greatest on the mic, but he is straight talking and fans love him for it, making him a great ‘babyface’.
6. Michael Bisping
The UFC love a token Brit, William Regal used to play the role exceptionally well. He is brash, arrogant and can be a damn asshole when he feels like it. Bisping is never shy of controversy and he carries himself in an unapologetic way. He has all the tools to be a great ‘heel’ in the WWE.
Bisping has now started to star in movies and tv with appearances in the ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ and ‘Twin Peaks’. The acting skills he has acquired will place him in good stead in the ring.
Bisping is great on the mic and could easily cut a promo giving his opponent a verbal beatdown. He would be an expert in getting the crowd riled up before a match. The only problem here would be Bisping’s ability to keep things PG13 as he loves to cuss.
5. Rampage Jackson
Out of all the people on this list ‘Rampage’ is the most qualified to enter the WWE. For starters he has appeared on RAW before, only appearing as a guest though. Jackson has also been part of TNA as part of Kurt Angle’s ‘main event mafia’. His experience would allow him to excel in the WWE and he would understand the business more than most on this list.
Jackson also has the best acting skills of anyone on this list having appeared in a host of movies and TV shows, most notably as B.A Baracus in the A-Team remake.
Jackson has the mean look and size of a wrestler too, making him a natural fit.
4. Daniel Cormier
If there is anyone on the UFC roster that will get professional wrestling, it’s WWE super fan Daniel Cormier. Rumour has it he even has NXT champion Bobby Roode’s theme song as his ring tone. He is without a doubt the biggest WWE fan in the UFC today, so he would fit straight in Vince McMahon’s business as he would simply understand the job at hand.
The Light Heavyweight Champion has also proven his ability to drag out a feud and make it interesting, his feud with Jon Jones is perhaps the best rivalry in MMA ever.
Cormier is also a world class wrestler. He has competed at the 2004 Olympics and was scheduled to be the 2008 Olympics team captain before pulling out due to kidney failure. He has all the credentials to fit in with the best at the WWE.
3. Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen’s gimmick is very pro wrestling. He sells fights by using mouth. The way he called out Anderson Silva to say he would retire if he beat him is reminiscent of a loser leaves town match in the WWE. He once won the ‘best inteview’ award by the Wrestling Observer placing him alongside the best on the mic in wrestling like Paul Heyman and CM Punk.
‘The American Gangster’ is must watch, whether he is talking or fighting, he always promises to be entertaining.
Sonnen would be a great ‘heel’ as he crushes his opponents with his witty abilities on the mic. Dare I say if he came in and slandered a hero like John Cena it would make for excellent television and he would play the role to a tee.
2. Ronda Rousey
Rousey joined the Rock in the ring at WrestleMania 31 in 2015, where the two of them teamed up to take down Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Ever since then, we have waited for her actual debut in the squared circle, more than likely in a feud with Stephanie McMahon as the interest has never truly died down.
Rousey’s MMA career is all but over after suffering two devastating KO losses. Rousey’s aura of invincibility has now gone and the interest in her from the MMA community has fizzled out. However, seeing her in the WWE is an unknown entity and would still be exciting for everyone. She would still pull in a crowd and some PPV numbers.
Rousey is a 4th dan black belt in Judo and learning some professional wrestling moves may come quite naturally to her.
Rousey and the WWE is a match made in heaven.
1. Conor McGregor
McGregor has had some harsh words for the WWE superstars back in August before his fight at UFC 202. But when McGregor was rumoured to appear at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, there was a lot of buzz generated.
McGregor is the biggest star the UFC has ever had, he has millions of fans and is a huge PPV draw. After his boxing debut in August this year against Floyd Mayweather Jr, Conor’s popularity is likely to increase even more as he dives even further into the mainstream.
McGregor is a polarising figure, allowing to either be a ‘face’ or a ‘heel’. He has probably p****d a lot of WWE fans off but he will still have a huge fan base there regardless.
Conor McGregor is without a doubt the most charismatic fighter in the UFC. His ability on the mic is second to none, whether he’s responding to questions or creating lines of his own. His trash talking has earned him comparisons to Muhammad Ali. Making him perfect to cut a promo in wrestling.
One of the problems McGregor would face would be his size, if he was to face Brock Lesnar he would be giving up well over 100lbs. But CM Punk proved that a smaller man can kick ass in the WWE and McGregor has the legitimacy to back up anyone performance he puts in against a bigger man. After all he is the UFC’s first two weight World Champion.