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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: First Round Finishes From Current UFC Champions

At UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya we saw one of the most dominant performances in a championship bout. This gave me the brilliant idea for this week’s top ten list. The current list of UFC champions right now have multiple first round finishes under their belts. Just about all of them have been dominant. So here is the top ten first round finishes from current UFC champions. We are excluding non-title fights they have competed in.

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#10. Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum

Many people were pretty sure that Fabricio Werdum was going to beat Stipe Miocic after seeing his performance against Cain Velasquez that won him the UFC Heavyweight Championship. So when Miocic put the former champion to sleep with a perfect cross counter during one of Werdum’s rushes, it came as a massive shock for the MMA community. It was just a sign of things to come from Miocic’s legendary title run.

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#9. Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo was the best chance, since John Dodson, to beating Demetrious Johnson. He was an undefeated fighter and an olympic wrestler. This did not seem to matter to Johnson however, as he went in there and took Cejudo out in the first round with a series of knees in the clinch.

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#8. Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos

Stipe Miocic continued his dominant championship run when he faced one of the two men to ever beat him in his MMA career. Although Junior Dos Santos looked promising as he was landing some leg kicks to Miocic, one would eventually hurt him, Miocic would eventually land a devastating right hand that dropped JDS to get the win in devastating fashion.

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#7. Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

This was the biggest upset win on this entire list. Rose Namjunas was subject to a lot of verbal abuse by Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the lead up to the fight. This ended up blowing up in Jedrzejczyk’s face however, as Namajunas was able to drop her adversary with a lead hook and then deliver some ground and pound that led her Jedrzejczyk to tap to the strikes (yes it was a tap).

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#6. Amanda Nunes vs. Miesha Tate

When this fight was named the main event to UFC 200, many people felt like it would not serve as a proper close to what should be an epic card (thanks Jon Jones and Conor McGregor). But when the fight took place, fans were stunned by Amanda Nunes’ quick annihilation of Miesha Tate that gave her the championship. She bludgeoned Tate with her fists of stone until Tate was a bloody mess and was forced to curl up in a ball until the ref stepped in.

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#5. Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

In the most recent fight on this list, Cris Cyborg absolutely destroyed Yana Kunitskaya in this impressive performance by a champion. Kunitskaya had an oppurtunity to win when she took Cyborg’s back, but all hope was lost when Cyborg powered her way out and continued to throw bombs at Kunitskaya to get the victory in this dominant win.

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#4. Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez

In their first fight, Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez by decision. Benavidez felt confident the second time around as he had been working on his striking with the addition of Duane Ludwig to Team Alpha Male. Sadly for him though, Johnson had also been working on his striking. The feeling out process was going on for quite a bit in the first round and as Joe Rogan was complimenting Johnson’s form in his striking, Johnson caught Benavidez with a well placed hook/uppercut that shut the lights off for Benavidez (and his dreams of becoming champion).

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#3. Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey

The hype behind Ronda Rousey’s return was insane. Many were hoping she came back and reclaim her title in dominant fashion like the fighter of old. This was not meant to be. Amanda Nunes, angered by the lack of media attention to her, absolutely destroyed the MMA darling and sent her into retirement via one-sided beat down that was mercifully stopped before Rousey even went down.

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#2. Tyron Woodley vs. Robbie Lawler

Tyron Woodley may get a lot of criticism for being a boring fighter, but when he captured the UFC Welterweight Championship from Robbie Lawler, it was anything but boring. Similar to the Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez fight, both fighters were feeling each other out and looking for an opening. Leg kicks were thrown and they had a little clinch battle as well. But the only significant strike that was thrown on the feet was by Woodley when he threw a killer overhand right that shattered the iron chin that Lawler had. It was a real eye-opener as Woodley has been a tough puzzle to solve ever since that punch was thrown.

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#1. Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo

This is, without a doubt, the most dominant victory of any current UFC champion. It only took thirteen seconds and one punch for Conor McGregor to dethrone the former P4P king Jose Aldo from the featherweight throne. It’s what made McGregor the larger than life fighter that he is known to be. Now if only he can defend that belt of his. Oh well.

Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: Matt Hughes Moments

Matt Hughes is one of my favorite fighters of all time. He had everything you could like in a fighter. He finished people; he was humble; and he never relied on his strength to win fights. Above all of that, he is a kind human being that has helped many fighters as both a coach and as Vice President of Athlete Development and Government relations in the UFC. His inspiring comeback this past weekend was nothing short of miraculous so I will take this time to list the ten best Matt Hughes moments in his legendary UFC career. Will limit this to only his time in the UFC.

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#10. His fight with Ricardo Almeida

In what would be Matt Hughes’ first fight as a Hall of Famer would also be his last win inside the octagon. It was an impressive win on top of it. Ricardo Almeida was the younger of the two and was an excellent submission specialist due to his lineage. The two started off with very little action on the feet as both were throwing conservatively and Almeida only stuffing a few of Hughes’ takedown attempts. However, out of nowhere Hughes lands a perfect lead left hook that hurt Almeida which Hughes then capitalized on by locking up a front headlock on his opponent. This gave Almeida his first submission loss to one of the all-time greats.

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#9. His Retirement

Matt Hughes’ retirement was bitter-sweet. On one hand he was given the opportunity to become Vice President of Athlete Development and Government relations in the UFC but on the other hand it meant we would never see Hughes fight again. This short press conference moment started with Dana White giving an emotional speech about his trust and friendship with Matt Hughes and then ended with Hughes giving thanks and accepting his new position that would allow him to stay with the UFC.

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#8. The Ultimate Fighter

Not every moment on this list is going to be great as fighters tend to have ups and downs in their careers. Hughes coaching on The Ultimate Fighter was questionable as only two of his eight fighters won the opening round. And though those two were able to make it to the finals of the whole thing, you can bet his constant push of Christianity on his fighters didn’t sit well with many viewers at home (or his rival coach on the show, Matt Serra). When the two finally faced off at UFC 98, Serra was able to knockdown his opponent in the opening round (with help from an unintentional headbutt). Hughes, however, was able to survive and use his wrestling to dominate the rest of the fight and score the unanimous decision victory over his rival.

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#7. His Hall of Fame Induction

Being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame is one of the greatest honors a MMA fighter can obtain. Matt Hughes’ induction was special, especially since he was still a competitor in the UFC. He gave an amazing speech and remained humble like he has done throughout his entire career:

I never thought about this, to be honest – I’m just a Midwest guy kinda living the dream. But I’m very privileged and I thank the UFC. Shaking hands, signing autographs, being a world title holder and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, this is beyond what I ever would have pictured my life being.”

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#6. His fight with Royce Gracie

At the time, this fight was the biggest super fight the UFC had produced. Two legends in their own eras battling out with nothing on the line except bragging rights. In the fight, Matt Hughes was able to take Royce Gracie down using his strength and wrestling skills. Gracie tried to get something going for him but was completely overwhelmed by Hughes who was able to mount his back and rain punches for the victory.

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#5. His return

This was an emotional moment in UFC history as Matt Hughes was able to return home after a train collided with his truck in a scary incident that left many wondering whether he’d come out ok. But a ‘Country Boy Can Survive’ as Hughes walked down to the octagon with claps and cheers from everyone in attendance (including Dana White) and millions of viewers around the world. He even wore a shirt of his teammate’s name, Robbie Lawler.

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#4. His fights with BJ Penn

This is widely regarded as one of the best trilogy fights ever. The first fight with BJ Penn saw Penn upsetting Matt Hughes by submitting him in the very first round to win the UFC Welterweight Championship. Hughes would then come back with a vengeance as he was able to TKO Penn in the third round after a back-and-forth battle. In the third bout, Penn would win the rubber match by taking out Hughes with punches in just 21 seconds! Hughes may not have won the trilogy, but he gave it his all and made all fights as entertaining as possible.

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#3. His fights with Georges St-Pierre

Another trilogy that Hughes did not win was also a memorable part of Matt Hughes career. In the first fight, Georges St-Pierre pushed the pace to capture the gold but was submitted by Hughes in the final second of the first round. GSP shot back by knocking out Hughes in their rematch and capturing the title from Hughes. Finally they had one more title fight which saw GSP turning the table on Hughes by submitting him with an armbar. Each one could be considered a super fight and were instant classics of Matt Hughes collection of fights. And just like his fight with BJ Penn, Hughes showed great heart and will in all three bouts.

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#2. His first UFC title win (against Carlos Newton)

Possibly the most famous slam knockout in UFC history belongs to Matt Hughes when he faced off against then Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton. In the second round of this title fight, Hughes was able to take Newton to the mat with a well executed takedown. He soon found himself locked up in a triangle choke that looked to be on tight. Hughes, being as crafty as he was, lifted Newton up (almost as if to do a WWE powerbomb) and brought him towards the cage. Soon after Hughes sent Newton crashing down to the mat which knocked him out clean. Initially Hughes had no idea he had just one. It will forever go down as one of the craziest and astounding knockouts in UFC history

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#1. His first fight with Frank Trigg

In what is considered by many to be the greatest fights of all time, Matt Hughes defended his title against heated rival, Frank Trigg. The two combatants were locked up on the cage when Trigg hit Hughes with an unintentional low blow. Hughes, visibly hurt, attempted to stumble away but was chased by a barrage of strikes by Frank Trigg and nearly finished. Trigg secured a rear naked choke that appeared to be the end for Hughes, but to everyone’s surprise, turned into it and was able to reverse position. He then proceeded to do his iconic carry of Trigg from one end of the octagon to the other and then slamming him to the mat. Finally, in ironic fashion, Hughes secured a rear naked choke of his own that finished off the hungry challenger. Hughes’ career had many memorable moments, but this was a moment that would stand the test of time in his truly historic career.

Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten: Possible Dream Fights

Dream fights are becoming more of a reality these days with everyone wanting big money fights. Who can blame them though? They do it because the fans are willing to pay for it. I have selected the top ten possible dream fights that have slim chance of happening but are still possible today. Only rules are that the fights have to be possible and no fighter can be on more than one dream fight. It’s like we are putting together a fantasy match card. So without further delay, here are the best dream fights to make in the UFC today:

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#10. Rashad Evans vs. Vitor Belfort

First we have two former UFC Light Heavyweight Champions. Both have some vicious knockouts in the past and are known for their expertise in grappling as well with on being a former NCAA Division I wrestler and both being Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts. They are well past their primes but this could potentially be a close contest due to their will to win.

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#9. Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo

This was a dream match back in the day when both men were champions. To me it would still be amazing to see because of their fast paced and high volume striking. I feel Jose Aldo would look to grapple while Anthony Pettis would try to keep it standing. But if does stay on the feet then do not expect Aldo to just roll over. This would be a great fight between two former champions.

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#8. Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes

Here is the only women’s fight on the list. Both fighters have been dominant throughout their career, finishing almost all of their opponents. Both are also champions in their respected divisions. I would have put Holly Holm instead of Amanda Nunes but I am pretty sure that Cyborg and Holm will face each other that it is no longer a dream match and instead is reality. This is a dream match because of the Nunes being unwilling to face Cyborg. Cyborg would clearly have the edge with her frame and impressive winning streak but Amanda Nunes’ hands and Jiu-Jitsu should give Cyborg her toughest challenge yet.

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#7. Demetrious Johnson vs. Cody Garbrandt

This is a fight that both fighters have requested but were refused. The magnitude of this fight would be huge. It would be the biggest little man fight in UFC history with both winning streaks on the line as well as a title. The UFC wants TJ Dillashaw to face Demetrious Johnson instead. This is baffling because this fight makes more sense since both are champions. Plus, both are gifted athletes who have impressive striking and great wrestling to make this a barn burner.

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#6. Tyron Woodley vs. Michael Bisping

These are probably the two most hated champions in not only UFC today but also in UFC history. Tyron Woodley has the power and wrestling to takeout anyone in his division. Michael Bisping has the reach and size advantage as he is the king of the middleweight division to Woodley’s welterweight division. You can make a case for either fighter but expect many boos to fill the arena if the two meet face-to-face in the octagon.

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#5. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier started his career at heavyweight, where he is undefeated at, and was the form UFC Light Heavyweight champion . Stipe Miocic is the current heavyweight champion who is one win away from having the most title defenses in the heavyweight division’s history. What more needs to be said? If Cormier moves to heavyweight and gains a win or two, he can petition for a title shot in this potential dream fight.

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#4. Anthony Johnson vs. Alistair Overeem

Two of the baddest and most scariest knockout artists in the history of MMA going up against each other is what any sane man would want to see. Alistair Overeem may be the bigger fighter, but he has shown that his chin is not hard to crack if you so much as touch it. Anthony Johnson meanwhile has never been finished via strikes except for one time by an eyepoke. This is very unlikely to happen due to Johnson’s apparent retirement and unwillingness to move up weight class. But a fan can dream, right?

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#3. Conor McGregor vs. Nick Diaz

Two of the most toxic fighters in UFC history. The press conferences alone would be amazing. Conor McGregor already had a couple of fights with Nick Diaz’s younger brother Nate Diaz, but how would he fare against the older brother who is a former Strikeforce champion? They also have some of the best boxing in the business which would make for a fun fight to watch.

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#2. Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar

Here is the fight that is possibly closest to happening. Both are monsters in their divisions, so putting them against each other makes sense. I’ve talked about this fight before in the past so if you want to see that be sure to CLICK HERE. Even though this would be a huge draw, it is not number one on my lift. That goes to two of the greatest of all time.

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#1. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre

Number one on this list if a fight fans have been asking for for many years. The fact that this fight has not happened yet is depressing. These two dominated their division and are known by nearly every fight fan and casual alike. The fight is still possible though with both fighters still competing, but a lot would have to happen for it to come to fruition. I guess in the meantime I will have to just play EA Sports UFC 2 with these fighters instead until then.