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5 WWE Superstars who started their careers in MMA

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
3.17K   //    Timeless

Ronda Rousey: UFC and WWE titles on her resume
Ronda Rousey: UFC and WWE titles on her resume

The world of Wrestling and Martial Arts are inextricably linked owing to the fact that amateur wrestling usually leads to an MMA career.

Many of the best MMA stars are accomplished wrestlers; such as reigning UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. It makes sense therefore that several MMA athletes would go the opposite way and progress from an MMA career to find themselves in the pre-determined world of pro wrestling with WWE.

Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn, two of the very biggest names in UFC in the mid-1990s joined WWE at the height of the Attitude Era boom period and brought their brand of martial arts to the wrestling company. It was a successful transition and demonstrated how MMA has had considerable influence on WWE. Prior to Shamrock's first appearances in the sports entertainment powerhouse, wrestlers would verbally give up from submission holds. Shamrock's UFC experience led to wrestlers tapping out instead.

The use of MMA gloves is another influence, used by names such as The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Sonya Deville. Stoppage finishes such as Edge's Summerslam 2005 victory over Matt Hardy and Brock Lesnar's Summerslam 2016 win over Randy Orton were also lifted directly from the UFC playbook.

As WWE nears 2019, it is highly likely, that the MMA influence will continue; particularly as Fox has reportedly asked WWE to give the Smackdown brand a more UFC-feel when the Tuesday night show begins airing on the channel, next October.

Sonya Deville: Character influenced by MMA
Sonya Deville: Character influenced by MMA

Lesnar's current WWE attire of shorts, with sponsor names, is straight out of his UFC career, instead of the usual WWE attire of short or long trunks.

In the following slideshow, we look at five WWE Superstars who began their combat careers in the world of MMA and looks at how successful their transition to the world of pro-wrestling was.


#5 Matt Riddle

Matt Riddle: Creating waves in NXT
Matt Riddle: Creating waves in NXT

Once upon a time, Matt Riddle was set to be one of the breakout stars of the UFC. The Middleweight won his first three UFC fights before experiencing his first loss to Nick Osipczak at UFC 105.

The charismatic Riddle continued to pick up wins but found himself with two of them overturned to No Contests after he tested positive for Marijuana.

His Marijuana usage led to him being cut by UFC and Riddle was picked up by WWE earlier this year after spending several years competing on the Independent wrestling circuit for companies such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Evolve.

Assigned to the NXT brand, Riddle has shown an extraordinary aptitude for pro wrestling and defeated Luke Menzies in his in-ring debut for the company on the October 31st episode. It is likely to be the first of many victories, as Riddle seems destined for a successful WWE career.

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Paul Benson
ANALYST
I am a trained journalist with a BA Hons degree from UCLAN. I have a passion for the medium and currently produce content for a number of websites. I predominantly write about Football, Wrestling and MMA. Should you wish to read more of my content, then click the "follow" button and you will be notified every time I post a new article to the site.
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