Brock Lesnar is a megastar in both worlds, Ronda Rousey swapped the cage for the ring and CM Punk was badly exposed… as Daniel Cormier becomes latest UFC legend to hint at WWE move – here are other crossovers between MMA and pro wrestling

  • Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier says he is considering joining WWE
  • He would take up a commentary role after retiring from fighting in August 
  • Previous crossovers between the sports include Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey
  • Sportsmail takes a look at some of the best crossovers and what happened next

The world’s of MMA and pro-wrestling have occasionally crossed paths, with UFC and WWE seeing stars switch between the fight promotion and entertainment company. 

And Daniel Cormier could be the next former UFC champion to join WWE, with the retired fighter open to a commentary role – although some believe he could be enticed to jump into the ring as part of a storyline for himself.

‘We’ve been talking,’ Cormier told Sports Illustrated. ‘We’ve spoken to some of the people over there in very, very early conversations. WWE is a company I’ve watched and loved my entire life.’ 

Many stars have prospered after switching from elite fighting to the entertainment business. Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey are two to have made a successful crossover. 

Sportsmail takes a look at some of the other stars who have ventured from UFC to WWE and vice versa.

Brock Lesnar 

Lesnar is the most successful crossover between the two organisations.

After earning recognition as a heavyweight amateur wrestler for Bismarck State College and the University of Minnesotta, Lesnar signed with WWE and debuted in March 2002.

By August, he had already defeated The Rock to become the undisputed champion and the youngest in WWE history at the age of 25.

After building his name in the constructed entertainment world, Lesnar decided to pursue a career in the NFL with Minnesotta Vikings but failed to make the cut and instead found his way into MMA.

His debut resulted in a defeat to Frank Mir but he soon became UFC heavyweight champion after beating Heath Herring and Randy Couture. Lesnar lost his final two fights Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem before returning to WWE.

But in 2016, WWE granted their star a ‘one-off opportunity’ to return to the UFC. Lesnar beat Mark Hunt but the decision was later turned into a no contest after the American failed a USADA drug test and he subsequently retired.

In 2018 there was talk of a comeback fight against Cormier but an agreement was never reached. 

However, Lesnar could still get back in the ring with UFC president Dana White revealing he would arrange a mega-fight between the 43-year-old and Jon Jones if both heavyweights want it.

Ronda Rousey

After becoming the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo after winning bronze at the 2008 games, Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey entered MMA – making it to the top of Strikeforce women’s bantamweight division and was its final champion before the company was acquired by UFC.

She then entered UFC’s first women’s bout, becoming bantamweight champion before going on to set a record by defending her title six times.

Rousey won five of her first six fights in the first round, with four of those fights lasting less than a minute. She is regarded as a pioneer of women’s sport and is the fighter who changed Dana White’s perception of having female weight classes.  

The American became one of the most recognisable MMA fighters, appearing in a variety of TV shows and films. Her fall from grace was spectacular, losing the last two of her UFC bouts, the famous head kick TKO from Holly Holm and first round obliteration by Amanda Nunes. 

It was then that the WWE came in with an offer and Rousey joined their ranks.  

Her debut at WrestleMania34 in a mixed tag team match, competing with Kurt Angle against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. 

Rousey was cultivated into a star from the start, beating McMahon with her trademark armbar submission and overcoming Alexa Bliss to claim her first title later that year. 

Rousey was then kept at the top, fending off challenges from Nikki Bella, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Natalya and Sasha Banks. A defeat against Becky Lynch in 2019 gave Rousey her first loss in WWE – ending her championship reign at 231 days.

The 33-year-old walked away from wrestling in 2019 but she has been spotted training with WWE legend Roddy Piper’s daughter Ariel Teal Toombs, signalling that her return to the ring could be imminent.

Toombs took to Instagram to share some pictures from their training sessions and Rousey seen wearing her iconic WWE gloves – with fans optimistic she could be back in action soon.

Ken Shamrock

Before beginning his professional MMA career, Ken Shamrock trained to become a professional wrestler and performed throughout the early 1990’s in America and Japan. 

In 1993 he competed in his first UFC 1 in Denver in the first of its one-night-only tournaments. After winning his first match, he lost via submission to Royce Gracie in the semi-finals.

Shamrock split his time between Pancrase and UFC and went on to become the first Openweight champion and the first UFC Superfight champion, earning the tag of ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’.

After pushing his MMA record to 23-5-2, Shamrock moved over to WWE in 1996 (then WWF), making his TV debut in 1997. His career lasted until late 1999, becoming Intercontinental champion and tag team champion.

He returned to MMA in 2000 and his last fight was against Josh Barnett in 2004.

Dan Severn

After a collegiate wrestling career at Arizona State University, Dan Severn made his way into professional fighting – entering UFC in 1994.

After winning the UFC 5 tournament, the American was defeated by Shamrock in his first Superfight championship before the introduction of weight classes.

But ‘The Beast’ got his revenge by beating Shamrock UFC’s Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournament, before a loss to Mark Coleman for the UFC heavyweight championship in 1997.

Alongside his UFC career, Severn put together a successful career in pro wrestling, becoming a two-time NWA world heavyweight champion and NWA Hall of Famer and he spent a year-and-a-half with WWE in the late 1990s. 

CM Punk

Phillip Jack Brooks, known in the ring as CM Punk, began his wrestling career in the late mid-1990’s.

After breaking through in 2002, he had a number of famous clashes against Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe before signing with WWE and making his way into the ECW brand, where he eventually became champion and later won five WWE titles.

He had a prolific rivalry with John Cena in 2011 and 2012 which cemented him as one of the company’s most popular stars.

Punk announced a multi-fight contract with UFC after splitting from WWE in 2014 but injuries meant he had to wait until 2016 for his first bout but he was beaten by Mickey Gall.

His second and last fight came in 2018 which resulted in another defeat, this time by Mike Jackson. 

Punk’s inclusion in the UFC was widely controversial as many believed his inclusion made a mockery of MMA. He was badly exposed in both encounters in the octagon.  

Bobby Lashley

A period of amateur wrestling and a spell in the army came before Bobby Lashley signed his first contract with WWE in 2004.

In three-and-a-half years with the company he was a two-time ECW champion and a one-time United States champion.

One of his most famous matches came at WrestleMania 23 in 2007. He took on Umaga, who was Vince McMahon’s proxy, and won a hair vs hair match as a representative for Donald Trump – forcing McMahon’s head to be shaved.

After his release from WWE, Lashley pursued a fighting career, winning his first five professional bouts, at the same time as pursuing a pro wrestling career outside of WWE. In April 2018, he made his return to WWE. 


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