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7 MMA Superstars who started in Pro Wrestling

Who would ever forget Brock Lesnar’s signature move the “F5” where he does a fireman’s carry across his shoulders and simultaneously flips their legs while falling backward, causing for the opponent to land with their face down on the canvas or on their back. These death-defying stunts are planned in advance to create certain characters and stories with the goal to give entertainment and excitement to the audiences. It is important to reiterate that these stunts are done by Professional wrestlers who spent countless hours perfecting every move. Most well-known Professional wrestlers that we know today have strong athletic bodies but there are a handful of individuals who traded their wrestling costumes for MMA gear by putting their fighting skills to the test through Mixed Martial Arts. Let’s find out the 7 MMA Superstars who started in Pro Wrestling!

1 Brock Lesnar

*Image source UFC

Brock Lesnar competed in collegiate wrestling for the University of Minnesota where he won the NCAA Division I National Championship in 2000. His stellar performance caught WWE Officials’ attention, signing him for promotion in 2002 and eventually becoming the youngest champion in WWE History. Lesnar was signed as an MMA fighter under the UFC banner in 2008 where he quickly won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. His professional MMA record breakdown is 9 matches in total with 6 wins and 3 losses. Brock Lesnar retired from his MMA career first in 2017.

2 Bobby Lashley

*Image source Bellator

Bobby Lashley started wrestling in seventh grade in Fort Riley in Kansas where his father serves as a U.S. Army drill sergeant. All throughout his education from high school to college and eventually when he joined the Army he continued to compete in amateur wrestling. He joined World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005 where he had a year of undefeated streak. His MMA career started in 2008 marking his first MMA win against Joshua Franklin in a TKO (cut) within 41 seconds in round 1. His professional MMA record breakdown was 17 matches in total, 15 wins and 2 losses.

3 Dan Severn

*Image source Sherdog

Dan Severn is a true legend being one of the leading pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts and the first true world-class wrestler to compete in the UFC while simultaneously competing in WWE. He has amassed a total of 127 Professional MMA matches during his whole career, 101 wins and, 19 losses. Aside from his wrestling background, he is also a 3rd-dan Black belt in Judo and 2nd-degree Black belt in Jiu-jitsu.

4 Dave “Batista” Bautista

*Image source WWE

We all know Dave Bautista as an actor who portrayed a well-known character in the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy” as Drax and various movies thereafter. But before the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, Dave Bautista started as a struggling bodybuilder who opted to pursue a career in Pro wrestling. He successfully made a name for himself with the help of WWE and the rest you can say is history. He left WWE in 2010 and decided to dip his toe in the MMA scene in 2012 and had 1 win in MMA via TKO at 4 minutes in the first round.

5 Ken Shamrock

started training Pro Wrestling under the tutelage of Buzz Sawyer and debuted in 1989. When his previous promotion folded, Shamrock applied for the American tryouts of the Japanese Universal Wrestling Federation and was eventually accepted but the promotion didn’t last long and he eventually ended up in World Wrestling Federation. Shamrock joined various wrestling promotions thereafter and it went on from the 90s until the present.

The first rivalry in UFC history was between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie in 1993. Shamrock initially was not aware that the newly formed Ultimate Fighting Championship was not a Professional Wrestling event though he signed up nonetheless. His professional MMA record breakdown is 47 matches in total with 28 wins and 17 losses.

6 CM Punk

*Image source WWE

Philip Jack Brooks or most commonly known as CM Punk started his professional wrestling career in 1999 on the Independent circuit. He signed with WWE in 2005 and has used his moniker CM Puk consistently all throughout his wrestling career. He retired from WWE in 2014 and signed as a Mixed Martial Artist under the banner of UFC. His UFC stint turned out unsuccessful having a Professional MMA record of a total of 2 matches with 0 wins, 1 Loss, and 1 no contest.

7 Shinsuke Nakamura

*Image source WWE

Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the most decorated Japanese Professional Wrestlers of all time. Having legendary matches in WWE gave him countless championships that solidified his career in the world of wrestling. Shinsuke Nakamura had a short stint in MMA between 2002-2004 making a statement that his wrestling style is not merely a gimmick but a legit technique that he has applied during his MMA fights. He has a professional MMA breakdown record of 5 matches in total with 3 wins, 1 Loss, and 1 no-contest.

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