Mixed martial arts or MMA as it’s fondly called, is a full contact sport that consists of grappling and striking, both standing and on the ground. It has a lot to do with other combat sports and martial arts. The term “mixed martial arts” was first used early 1990s, when the first UFC fight took place. And in today’s world, MMA is something many athletes consider when they no longer want to continue with their own sport.
There has a trend of professional athletes taking up MMA to make more money or to try something different in their careers. American football players, boxers, wrestlers, are always used to physical contact in their own sports so they find it relatively easier to make the transition to MMA than any other sport. We have seen many great athletes making their debuts in MMA but only some have managed to make a mark. Others have failed miserably.
Here’s a look at some of the athletes who turned to MMA after leaving their original careers:
#1 Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is probably the most decorated professional wrestler in the modern era. He has won all there is in the wrestling ring from WWE titles to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the New Japan Pro Wrestling. But the WWE superstar is best known for changing brands and fields throughout his career. He started off with amateur wrestling when he was at Bismarck State College and the University of Minnesota where he had a record of 106 victories and only 5 losses.
Hence, he was signed by the WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation) in 2000. The Beast won the WWE Championship three times where he defeated Kurt Angle twice and The Rock once. Lesnar decided to leave the WWE in 2004 and pursued a career in the National Football League (NFL) where he failed, not managing even a game with Minnesota Vikings.
After spending two years in Japan in wrestling, Lesnar started his career in mixed martial arts in 2006 with Hero’s where he won his first fight against Min-Soo Kim in June 2007. He then signed with the UFC but lost in his debut against Frank Mir. The Beast came back and won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2008. But after suffering from diverticulitis, the American decided to come back to WWE in 2012 after an 8-year absence.
He was allowed to compete by the WWE in the UFC200. He won his fight against Mark Hunt in what could have been his last MMA fight ever as he has showed signs of leaving MMA. His MMA record stands at 5 wins to 3.