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WWE News: Samoa Joe says he respects MMA too much for crossover fight

Gary Cassidy
16 Jan 2018, 02:17 IST

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What's the story?

It's no secret that Samoa Joe has been heavily influenced by MMA in his career. From his rear-naked chokehold Coquina Clutch finishing move to even simply the execution of his jabs and kicks - even down to his ring attire - you could even be forgiven for believing Joe was once an MMA star who had made the leap to wrestling.

However, Samoa Joe was recently a guest on CBS' In This Corner podcast where he dismissed the possibility of stepping into the Octagon.

In case you didn't know...

Joe has played a huge part on the red brand since debuting last year when he attacked Seth Rollins at the request of Triple H, with his unique combination of incredible athleticism and strong style.

The former WWE NXT Champion has always been open about his love of MMA, training the various disciplines of kickboxing and jiu-jitsu to judo and Muay Thai. Joe has hit the headlines more recently for his ability to cut an incredible promo, but his stiff style and MMA elements make his work look incredibly crisp and add a great deal of realism to his ringwork.

The heart of the matter

Well, Joe can certainly talk the talk and many believe he could walk the walk, but it seems we may never find out.

In the interview for CBS Sports, Joe said...

"I have had the tremendous fortune that some of best friends growing up. A lot of family and some of the people that I consider to be very close have been consistently involved in MMA throughout its history, from its inception and to this very day. I've always been a member of a gym, I've always been on some (fighting) team or another. 

Just in case that wasn't clear enough of a message to any of Joe's fans in the WWE Universe, he reinforced his love of the business.

"MMA has always been a presence in my life. That being said, I love what I do. I love professional wrestling and I love sports entertainment."

Joe, however, was classy as ever when discussing fellow professional wrestlers and their choice to enter the world of MMA - a world where Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley and Jack Swagger have all found themselves venturing into.

"At this point in my career, knowing what my friends and my close family go through in training and in sacrifice, I think it would be disingenuous to them for me to say, 'Oh well, I'm going to take this fame and parlay it into a fighting career.
I know other people have, and I don't fault them. I think it's awesome. I think you should follow your dreams and do what you want to do.

Joe commented on his own personal circumstance more as being a "only do it if you can be the best" type of situation, stating that if he can't be the champion, he doesn't want to do it as he isn't motivated by money.

"I think it would be irresponsible for me to say that I'm ready to start a fighting career at this point," Joe said. "For me, if I was, it would be a cash grab. I wouldn't be getting into it to be the heavyweight champion; I would be getting into it simply for monetary purposes. For me, if you are not in it to be champion, you shouldn't be in it at all."
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What's next?

MMA's loss is definitely pro wrestling's gain. At 38 years old, Joe is no spring chicken but he does look like he has a lot of gas left in the tank. Joe seems to be one of many current Superstars who seem to get better as they get older (look at AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Finn Balor) and seems to show no signs of slowing down.

Samoa Joe appeared on WWE RAW last week to announce his entry into the Royal Rumble Match, calling out John Cena in the process. Unfortunately, it was revealed afterwards that he had suffered a foot injury in his match against Rhyno immediately before calling out the 16-time World Champion, so it isn't currently known whether he'll be cleared for the 30-man match or not.

Author's take

While it would be incredible to see Samoa Joe enter the world of MMA (imagine a staredown between Samoa Joe and Mark Hunt) I, for one, am glad to hear he doesn't plan on leaving WWE for an MMA career any time soon.

I don't doubt he'd be a success if he set out to achieve a goal in MMA, particularly with his background in fighting, but Joe seems to be hitting his stride on the main roster and hit the ground running this year - even having a spotlight shone on him during his WWE Universal Championship match with Brock Lesnar.

Joe seems to be doing quite okay between being a HUGE fan favourite on RAW and recently landing a role in the animated series of Transformers. Hopefully he returns from injury soon and remains a mainstay on WWE RAW for a long time to come!

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