Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: MMA Fighters Turned Pro Wrestlers

MMA is not all it’ cracked up to be. You get injured often (it’s fighting after all) and pay can be pretty low, especially if you’re not a big name. So fighters are looking for every possible way to make money outside the cage. Professional wrestling is a great option as companies like WWE are always looking for big men to join the sports entertainment world. So here are the top ten professional fighters turned professional wrestlers. Rules for this list: the fighter must be in MMA then go to wrestling, but could have started in wrestling then jumped back and forth.

10. Stephan Bonnar

12Krzysztof_Soszynski_v_Stephan_Bonnar.jpg

Stephen Bonnar may be best known for his war with Forrest Griffin but now he’s trying to be known for his professional wrestling career as well. He has not done too much but his presence as a UFC Hall of Famer in the world of professional wrestling is definitely noteworthy.

9. Josh Barnett

Lashley-Barnett_2.jpg

Josh Barnett joined Impact Wrestling with multiple other MMA fighters while still under contract with the UFC. It’s pretty insane to see an MMA legend like him join a wrestling company and then being able to fight in a legit fight the next day.

8. Dan Severn

115727289.0

Dan Severn is an MMA pioneer who was also around during the WWE’s attitude era. He didn’t do much in the promotion but still competed in both companies as one of the earliest examples of crossing over from MMA to professional wrestling.

7. Matt Riddle

Matt-Riddle.0.0.jpg

Matt Riddle suffered harsh criticisms from UFC president Dana White for his use of marijuana. After being cut from the company, Riddle enjoyed success in both MMA and professional wrestling. Riddle has no desire to return to the UFC as he is clearly being treated better outside the UFC in the land of professional wrestling

6. Shayna Baszler

Shayna_Baszler_bio--3b8d1a0accc26b36ed9fa9f13e55279e.jpg

Shayna Baszler has a short UFC stint back in 2014 to 2015 but soon was released from the company. She is now best known for being Ronda Rousey’s friend and being a part of WWE’s developmental territory NXT. She is enjoying great success and hasn’t looked back ever since.

5. Bobby Lashley

010_Bobby_Lashley.0.0

Bobby Lashley was a former world champion in WWE and Impact Wrestling until he tried to be one in MMA. He has a 15-2 record and has been one the more known stars in Bellator MMA. He hasn’t fought in the company since 2016 and is enjoying great success in Impact Wrestling as of now.

4. Ken Shamrock

shamrock

Ken Shamrock participated at the first ever UFC event but is also known for his time in WWE. He had multiple feuds with big name wrestlers in the company and fitted in quite well with the other superstars of that era. He is known by many wrestling fans and MMA fans alike.

3. Colby Covington

usa_today_10116448.0.jpg

Colby Covington is best known as a nasty trash talker and top ranked welterweight in the UFC. A lot of the trash talk stems from his wrestling career that he has on the side. Covington has competed in Impact Wrestling and has plans to join WWE in the near future.

2. Ronda Rousey

ronda.jpg

Ronda Rousey is the most recent example of an MMA fighter becoming a professional wrestler. She suffered two brutal losses that caused her to rethink her career choice. Now she has gone from UFC champion to future WWE women’s champion.

1. Brock Lesnar

brock-lesnar-696x392

Brock Lenar was very popular in WWE in the early 2000’s. He became a mega star once he became UFC champion after leaving the WWE. He soon left the UFC after a few losses and is currently the WWE Universal Champion and is expected to headline this year’s Wrestlemania.

Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov)

The UFC returns to London when two top ranked heavyweights battle it out in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:

Leon “Rocky” Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta

This fight will be a stylistic matchup. Although both are comftorable with a stand-up fight, Leon Edwards would love to get this fight to the mat. That will be easier said than done as Peter Sobotta is a hard competitor to put on his back. This will lead to a striking battle between the two in which I see Sobotta taking the victory. But because Edwards is a tough fighter to finish, I predict Sobotta winning by the judges’ decision.

Predicted winner: Peter Sobotta via Decision

Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy vs. Terrion “Flash” Ware

This will definitely be the most difficult fight to pick on this card. Both Tom Duquesnoy and Terrion Ware love to strike so expect this to stay standing (unless somebody gets dropped). An interesting statistic though is that neither men have been finished due to strikes. This will more than likely go the distance with one of them edging the other out. I pick Duquesnoy due to his slightly better hand speed, knockout power, and ability to mix up his weapons in his arsenal. Ware will have to pressure Duquesnoy immensely but will probably eat an elbow or knee in the process. Tough fight to call, but my gut says Duequesnoy.

Predicted winner: Tom Duequesnoy via Decision

Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz

This may be the most exciting fight on the card despite their last encounter not being so eventful. Jimi Manuwa will play the striker in this fight while Jan Blachowicz will play the grappler. Manuwa’s biggest problem in his career has been his inability to takeout top-tier strikers. Although Jan Blachowicz is an excellent fighter, he is by no means a top tier striker. I see Manuwa’s boxing dominating this fight as Blachowicz struggles to take Manuwa down to the canvas. I also feel that Manuwa’s boxing has gotten better since these two mens’ last bout so I think Manuwa gets the finish this time around, but it won’t be immediate. It will probably happen in the second round.

Predicted winner: Jimi Manuwa via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs. Alexander “Drago” Volkov

An odd main event for this London crowd, but it should be anything but boring. Fabricio Werdum is a master submission artist and is able to submit any of his opponents when he takes them to the ground. Taking down Alexander Volkov is no easy feat though. The striking game will be a bit close but I see Werdum gaining the slight advantage, especially in the later rounds as he gets his rhythm and timing down. Werdum should defeat Volkov but will probably not get the finish as knocking Volkov out or taking him down is too difficult for most fighters to do.

Predicted winner: Fabricio Werdum via Decision

What's Going On?

What’s Going On? (Mar 4th – 10th)

A whole new week means a whole new set of MMA news and events that needs to be discussed by yours truly. So let’s get right into it with some interesting topics for this week:

darren-till-ufc-fight-night-1181

Darren Till vs. Rafael Dos Anjos?

Darren Till has expressed interest in fighting former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a recent interview.

Just because of his fan base there, and I’ve obviously lived there. I’ve got a lot of fans there, and I can speak the language. It would be a good sell in Brazil, if he’s willing to do it… I know he’s waiting for [Tyron] Woodley but Woodley doesn’t seem to want to come back.” – Darren Till

As fun as a fight this would be, Dos Anjos has earned the right to fight for the title and should not have to fight the #7 ranked fighter in his division. This would be a repeat of the Jacare Souza situation. Maybe Till can fight Colby Covington in the mean time (I know a lot of people want to see that guy get knocked out badly).

hi-res-d8cf47631501a2f5d430f349a7d5b9bd_crop_north

Mackenzie Dern‘s Debut Draws Viewers

According to Dave Meltzer, Mackenzie Dern’s UFC debut was the most watched portion of the UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kuntskaya prelims. It was also a bigger draw than the crazy Wilder vs. Ortiz boxing fight. Although Mackenzie Dern herself wasn’t that impressive in her debut (completely lacking in the striking department), she has proven to be a pretty big cash cow for the UFC. I expect them to give her the Sage Northcutt treatment to make he a household name and protect her record. I just hope see fixes her striking or uses her grappling much more effectively, otherwise see will end up like Ronda Rousey when she was exposed in the striking department.

c0822e_5c47f89712d04f5eb62827eb7f81f4fa_mv2

Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Burger King

Conor McGregor and Max Holloway continued to poke jabs at each other after UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya.

So when McGregor announced that he was partnering with Burger King, similar to Anderson Silva, the UFC Featheweight Champion decided to take this opportunity to mock his former advisory.

https://mobile.twitter.com/BlessedMMA/status/970805576669081600

Don’t you just love when two fighters get along? In all seriousness, I don’t understand why McGregor is even talking trash to Holloway. I guess he may want to face him when either of those killers, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson, take his belt. Regardless, in about a month only one of them can call themselves champion.

derrick-lewis-travis-browne-ufc-fight-night-105-22.jpg

Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou?

Derrick Lewis has been campaigning for a fight with recent title challenger Francis Ngannou. He said recently on a podcast that he would like to get the fight as soon as possible. This would definitely be an entertaining fight and would be easy for the UFC to sell as a must-watch bout. Ngannou may not want to fight Lewis now, especially after coming short against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, but this could be the fight that would propel him back into title contention. Plus, the rivalry between these two has been bitter from the start. Let’s just hope that when they do fight, the UFC reinforces the octagon cage walls.

301_Fabricio_Werdum_vs_Stipe_Miocic.0.0

Fabricio Werdum wants to be in WWE

This is probably the most surprising news of the week. Fabricio Werdum has stated that he will meet with WWE executives to talk about a potential crossover into the world of professional wrestling. Werdum then went on the record to say that the idea was nixed and instead he would be considering lucha libre style wrestling. This is a very off move as Werdum feels that he can balance both worlds which has me skeptical. If he ever does go to WWE, however, then I would love to see him and Brock Lesnar in a cage match. The cage should also be in the shape of an octagon.

Other News:

Let's Talk About...

Let’s Talk About… Georges St-Pierre’s Next Opponent

Georges St-Pierre is one of, if not, the greatest MMA fighters of all time. His accomplishments in the sport are second to none. Yet he still has interest in coming back for one more fight. His opponent is what remains a mystery. So here we will discuss the possible opponents he may face when, or if, he returns.

The Money Fight:

nintchdbpict0003483909431-e1520261623903.jpg

The first option that comes to mind is the, soon to be former, UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor. This fight would make the most financial sense as GSP would get a substantial paycheck for this fight and would have an opponent that fights at a smaller weight class. Also GSP’s wrestling ability would neutralize McGregor’s striking power in an instant, making this the easiest matchup with the biggest pay for GSP.

The Championship Fight:

tyron-woodley-post-ufc-214-belt.jpg

The second option for GSP would involve an oppurtunity to reclaim the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley. If he is serious about competing on a regular basis then maybe capturing a championship is the way to go. Stylistically, Woodley would be the toughest matchup for GSP, so this fight might not happen based on that. We all know Woodley wants it, but whether or not GSP takes it comes down to the legend himself.

The Rivalry Fight:

nate-diaz-nick-diaz-611385

This fight, or fights, could also be considered a money fight. Both Nick and Nate Diaz have proven that they are two of the biggest draws in combat sports today. GSP has already fought Nick Diaz (a rematch wouldn’t be too bad) but has never fought the younger Nate Diaz. Both would be entertaining opponents that would give GSP a decent pay-day while also letting him fight someone who isn’t too small for him. Plus, it could get either Diaz brother to fight again which is always good for both the UFC and the fans.

The Legacy Fight:

688715894.0.jpg

Last, but certainly not least, is the most interesting fight GSP can take. Ben Askren is an undefeated welterweight fighter who just recently retired without ever setting foot inside the UFC octagon. He is considered one of the best fighters in the entire world but was never able to get into the UFC due to both parties being unable to come to a deal. Askren has stated that he would come out of retirement to fight GSP in a well deserved super fight. This may give GSP the lowest payday, but this could give him a challenge against one of the most talented fighters that has never fought under the UFC brand.

The Verdict:

004_Georges_St_Pierre

So in conclusion, the best option for Georges St-Pierre is going to come down to this: what does he want? If it is money, then he should fight Conor McGregor. If it is pride, then he should fight Tyron Woodley. I personally think he is after the money, just listen to his ‘stock market’ speech, so I bet he would want to fight McGregor. A good alternative would be to fight either Diaz brother. It would not hold up any division and would give both fighters a reason to fight again. Whatever the reason, the UFC seems desperate for big stars so they would love to have GSP back sooner rather than later…or never.