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10 WWE Stars Who Tested Themselves in MMA: Beyond the Squared Circle

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The world of professional wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) might seem like separate universes on the surface. However, these combat-based forms of entertainment have seen a surprising amount of crossover throughout the years. Throughout the history of combat sports, some incredible WWE and MMA stars have showcased their skills in both the brutal octagon of mixed martial arts and the world of professional wrestling.

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By captivating audiences with their athleticism, charisma, and fighting prowess in both WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), these extraordinary fighters or wrestlers have demonstrated their versatility. From domineering heavyweight champions to tough women’s boxers, these ten superstars have established themselves as genuine crossover heroes. These people have proven they are capable of thriving in the prepared drama of professional wrestling and the unvarnished intensity of the mixed martial arts world, with records, victories, and memorable moments that reach beyond the boundaries of their respective industries.

This article explores 10 WWE Superstars who dared to step out of the squared circle and test their mettle in the unforgiving octagon of MMA.

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10 WWE Stars Who Tested Themselves in MMA

Sr. No 10 WWE Stars Who Tested Themselves in MMA
1 Brock Lesnar
2 CM Punk
3 Bobby Lashley
4 Shayna Baszler
5 Ken Shamrock
6 Cain Velasquez
7 Ronda Rousey
8 Batista
9 Shinsuke Nakamura
10 Matt Riddle

Brock Lesnar: The Beast Incarnate Conquers Both Worlds

Brock Lesnar | KreedOn
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Brock Lesnar stands as a unique case, achieving dominance in both professional wrestling and MMA. “The Beast Incarnate” enjoyed a successful early career in WWE before transitioning to MMA in 2007. Lesnar’s imposing physique and exceptional athleticism translated well to the octagon. Brock Lesnar captured the UFC Heavyweight Championship in just his third professional fight, a feat unmatched to this day. While his MMA career was brief, Lesnar’s success in both arenas solidified his reputation as a true combat sports icon.

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CM Punk: From Second City Saint to Second-Guessing Saint

CM Punk | KreedOn
Image Source: Forbes

CM Punk was a decorated WWE Superstar known for his exceptional mic skills and exciting in-ring style. However, his love for MMA and desire to test himself in a different environment led him to pursue a career in the octagon after leaving WWE in 2014. Despite his extensive training, Punk’s MMA journey was a struggle. He lost both of his professional fights, with questions surrounding his preparation and in-ring strategy. While his MMA stint wasn’t a success story, Punk’s journey highlights the significant differences between the two combat forms.

Bobby Lashley: The All Mighty Takes on MMA

WWE Star And Former MMA Fighter Bobby Lashley | KreedOn
Image Source: BroBible

Bobby Lashley, a dominant force in professional wrestling, ventured into the world of MMA in 2008. His impressive physique and amateur wrestling background translated well to the octagon. Lashley achieved a respectable record of 10-2 in his MMA career, showcasing his well-rounded skillset. He eventually returned to professional wrestling, leveraging his MMA experience to enhance his in-ring persona and credibility.

Shayna Baszler: From Submission Specialist to Queen of Spades

WWE and MMA Star Shayna Baszler | KreedOn
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Shayna Baszler, a decorated MMA fighter known for her technical brilliance and submission skills, transitioned to professional wrestling in 2017. “The Queen of Spades” quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with in NXT, showcasing her vicious submission holds and ruthless in-ring persona. Baszler’s MMA background adds a layer of legitimacy to her character and her victories in the squared circle.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock MMA and WWE Stars | KreedOn
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Ken Shamrock, the UFC Hall of Famer, had great success as a wrestler and fighter. His resume of achievements is self-explanatory. Shamrock may have suffered as a fighter because he joined WWE when his fighting career was at its height. In any case, he has triumphed over Masakatsu Funaki, Bas Rutten, and Dan Severn. Although his record suffered from fighting well past his prime, he remains one of the greatest MMA pioneers of all time. Over the years, Shamrock would go on to work for the WWE, compete in the UFC, and wrestle in Japan. After joining the WWE, he went on to win the Intercontinental Championship and engage in matchups with Bret Hart, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and The Rock during the Attitude Era.

Cain Velasquez: The Former UFC Champion Briefly Enters the WWE

Cain Velasquez | KreedOn
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Cain Velasquez, a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion, made a surprising leap to professional wrestling in 2019. He signed with WWE and joined their NXT developmental brand, showcasing his impressive athleticism. However, Velasquez’s wrestling career was cut short due to injuries. While his time in WWE wasn’t extensive, his decorated MMA background and impressive wrestling skills generated significant buzz.

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Ronda Rousey: The Rowdy One Takes WWE by Storm

Ronda Rousey | KreedOn
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Ronda Rousey, a former UFC Bantamweight Champion and one of the most dominant MMA fighters of all time, made a shocking switch to professional wrestling in 2018. “The Rowdy One” quickly rose to prominence in WWE, captivating audiences with her unmatched charisma and legitimate fighting background. Rousey’s arrival blurred the lines between reality and kayfabe (wrestling storyline), generating significant buzz for the women’s division in WWE.

Batista: Unleashing The Animal in WWE and MMA

WWE: Dave 'Batista' Bautista Gets His First MMA Win | KreedOn
Image Source: Bleacher Report

Batista, a name synonymous with power, intensity, and evolution, carved a unique path in both the world of professional wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Driven by a desire to test his skills in a different combat environment, Batista ventured into MMA in 2012. He trained extensively under renowned MMA coach Cesar Gracie and signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce. Batista made his MMA debut in 2012, defeating journeyman fighter Luis Carlos da Silva via knockout in the first round. However, a planned second fight never materialized due to lingering injuries.

Shinsuke Nakamura: A Wrestling Enigma Across the Globe

Shinsuke Nakamura | KreedOn
Image Source: Sportskeeda

Shinsuke Nakamura is a Japanese professional wrestler who has carved out a remarkable career in both professional wrestling and MMA. While his accomplishments in WWE are undeniable, his journey began in the world of mixed martial arts. Before captivating audiences in WWE, Nakamura competed in MMA during the early 2000s. While details surrounding his specific promotions and fight records are scarce, he did amass a respectable record of 3 wins (1 by KO/TKO) and 1 loss. This foray into MMA showcased Nakamura’s athleticism and fighting spirit, skills he would later translate to the professional wrestling world.

Matt Riddle: From MMA Maverick to WWE Bro

Matthew Riddle - WWE and MMA Stars | KreedOn
Image Source: The Athletes Hub

Matt Riddle‘s career path is a unique one, weaving between the worlds of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and professional wrestling. Riddle entered the MMA scene in 2008, quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. He amassed an impressive record of 8 wins and 3 losses, showcasing his well-rounded skillset and exciting fighting style. Matt Riddle’s experience in both MMA and WWE offers a unique perspective on combat sports. His background in MMA adds a layer of legitimacy to his wrestling character, while his wrestling persona injects a dose of entertainment into his fighting spirit.

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