WWE Superstars are often called simple entertainers who fake all they do. People say they are taught how to fall, how to take a move, etc. What they do not realize is that people really have to fall, sometimes at a big height. They also do not realize that while people are taught how to take moves, the moves are not always executed perfectly and real injuries occur.
Keep in mind, the mat they land on is about as good as your carpet at home. The ring is not some trampoline. It does a lot to the human body. They have to be able to last cardio-wise too, so most of the best wrestlers could probably run 20 miles with no issue due to the shape one has to be in to perform on such a stage.
WWE Superstars really do a lot, and many of them were athletes before they walked into the WWE. Some had a background in soccer, football, basketball, and more. Many also are smart, with degrees in a variety of different subjects. These men and women are amazing at giving you a performance, live, with no stunt man or woman helping them.
They are responsible for telling a story, similar to what one would do in a theater or in an action film. Don’t think, however, that these men and woman are not tough. In fact, many could transition into the real combat world if they wanted to. Here are 15 people who could make the jump to the UFC with no problem.
15. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is stronger than people might think and he possesses a great deal of cardio. On top of this, he uses a lot of moves one could use in MMA with his grapple game. While one would not confuse Seth for an MMA professional, he is by no means unable to make the transition.
He spent years on the independent scene taking punishment from some of the best wrestlers and strikers out there before he arrived to WWE. The man is one of the hardest workers there is and came back from an injury where he literally tore almost everything one could in their knee.
14. Braun Strowman
He was a former “strongman” for years before being recruited by the WWE. He competed in several different areas including the Arnold Amateur Strongman Competition and the NAS US Amateur National Championships. While he is by no means an excellent wrestler at this point in his career, he has proven that he has very good cardio and speed for a bigger man. Many think if Strowman can simply clean up his wrestling ability and become a better grappler, he could become one of WWE’s best big men ever.
That said, if you were to add him to UFC’s heavyweight division, he might surprise a lot of people with how good he is. Speed combined with strength is not something you can always teach and Braun has it at over 300lbs.
The Japanese sensation Asuka has been nothing but dominant since she made her debut with the WWE last year. She has yet to taste a loss in the WWE since her debut and many still wonder if she can be beaten. The Empress of Tomorrow is one of the most legit women in the wrestling world.
Many Japanese wrestlers tend to be tough due to how they come up in the world. A major disadvantage with them is that the Japanese talent takes a lot of punishment due to the “real” nature of what they have to do for the fans. Wrestlers often times get hurt doing some crazy stuff. Asuka is an amazing striker with great submission moves. She is also freaky quick.
Cesaro is one of the best wrestlers in the world today. Coming from Switzerland, the man speaks five different languages and possesses an intelligence that is clearly awesome. His in-ring work is always wonderful with great technical skill and psychology. However, Cesaro is very strong with an ability to pull off moves that make you wonder if he’s somehow related to Captain America.
Cesaro is by no means a huge man, but the deceptive strength makes him a threat in any real fight. While the man is by no means small, he could probably do a lot to a person with such strength. Combine this with his cardio and speed, and you may have a nice fighter.
11. Drew Gulak
Considered to be one of the best technicians in the world, Drew Gulak happens to be one of WWE’s newest signings. He is part of the company’s new cruiserweight division. He also worked with CZW, the independent scene’s version of ECW. The company does a lot of hardcore wrestling with a variety of stupid things, too. Most say if you can get through there, you can get through any other indie company. Gulak clearly has toughness and technical ability. If you were to allow him to get a year of training in to transition to MMA, you might be surprised as to how good he could turn out.
10. Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion and ECW Champion….and that’s about it. His WWE career started off hot, but it has not gone well since. However, he has a resume that tells you one thing – he’s a legit badass on the mat.
Swagger is an All-American wrestler out of Oklahoma. The Sooner-turned-WWE Superstar holds the record for the most pins in history for the school in a single season at 30. He actually played both football and wrestled, but once he focused on wrestling he became one of the best wrestlers the school ever had.
Swagger never won an NCAA Heavyweight Championship, but he did finish as high as seventh in his Senior year. He did beat eventual National Champion Dustin Fox out of Northwestern University that year. If there is a guy who could make a legit jump to the UFC and perform in their heavyweight division, Swagger clearly does stand out.
9. Tommaso Ciampa
Part of WWE’s Cruiserweight Division and currently working on the WWE NXT brand, Tommaso Ciampa is known for his great wrestling ability. The main thing you may see from him is his impressive strikes. He uses his knees, elbows, and hands as well as anyone and can grapple well on top of it.
With his speed, striking ability, and great cardio, a possible MMA career in the UFC is not impossible. In fact, instead of stopping his strikes before he hurts someone, which is actually pretty hard to do, he would be allowed to hit as hard as he wanted.
8. Samoa Joe
They call him the Samoan Submission Machine simply because he will make you tap any day, any time. Samoa Joe is considered by most to be one of the best wrestlers on the planet. What this man can do at his size is freaking amazing. He moves like a cruiserweight, yet he’s pushing 300 lbs.
He combined a lot of strikes and technical work into his in-ring performance. He worked in Japan for a while where he developed a lot of his skill. Before jumping into the world of pro-wrestling, he trained in Judo and even played football. Combining all he learned from a variety of martial arts, Joe became one of the most legitimate performers in the business.
7. Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan of SmackDown Live’s American Alpha team was one heck of a wrestler before arriving in the WWE. He attended Indiana University where he was one of the best wrestlers for some time. He ranked in the top 15 in the nation for three years in a row. He would even compete in the 285 lb. weight class…at 225 lbs. This forced him to use speed and skill to beat his opponents, which was seen as very impressive by wrestling experts.
He even had a great senior year where he finished 35-0, which helped to rank him the second best wrestler in the country that year. He holds two All-American honors, one at 197 lbs. and another as a heavyweight. When you talk about a guy who could easily make the jump to MMA, Jason Jordan literally IS that guy.
Former two-time WWE United States Champion Rusev has been able to carve out an impressive career for himself thus far in WWE. While he is by no means perfect, he has proven he can wrestle at a high level with just about anyone. With his real life wife Lana doing the talking for him, he has the capability to move up slowly but surely in WWE. Seriously, his wife is gorgeous and we’re still trying to figure out how this happened so that alone makes him qualified for anything.
However, as far as MMA is concerned…Rusev may have an easier time to make the jump than others. Originally from Bulgaria, but claiming Russia as his homeland due to Lana’s affiliation, Rusev did go to a sports school when he was young. He would eventually move to the United States and even did rowing and powerlifting into his adult years.
5. Dean Ambrose
You may be wondering why this lunatic is on the list. (There is a pretty good reason.) Dean Ambrose comes from a world where wrestling was all he had. He had a troubling childhood and was by no means the model human being as he came up in life. Eventually getting on track, wrestling was a great outlet for him. He would end up making his name in CZW, a hardcore promotion that was built on giving you crazy content that goes beyond entertainment.
Additionally, his promos were always great as he came off crazy and chaotic. Combined with a rough and tough childhood into adulthood, Ambrose knows how to take a beating and give one right back.
He simply has the ability to block out pain at times and despite the craziness he has been involved in, he’s still standing and as good as ever. If he took the time, he could easily jump into MMA because he has outstanding cardio, great wrestling skills, and would be able to brawl with the best of them.
4. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been a multi-time champion in the WWE from holding the World Heavyweight Title to the WWE Intercontinental and United States Championships. Most thought he would fade away after the Spirit Squad ended, but he managed to find some success afterward when most thought he never would. It should come as no surprise, as he is one of the most legit guys with the WWE right now.
At St. Edward High School, Dolph’s school growing up, he still holds the record for the most pins in a career with 82. He was with the team when it won two National Championships. His success in high school got him a spot on the Kent State University team. He would set a then record for most career wins in school history. It was passed in 2006, but he is still second all time in the victory category. He had 121 wins between the years of 2000 to 2003, making him one of the most successful wrestlers in the country.
Being a legit badass on the mat makes him a threat in various divisions. He has insane cardio even into his mid-30’s and surprising strength. Kurt Angle, an Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling and former WWE Superstar, said Dolph could jump in and compete with UFC star Conor McGregor with six months preparation.
3. Shinsuke Nakamura
Current WWE NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the most legitimate badasses in the world. In fact, he is the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion ever as he won his first title at the age of 23. NJPW believed in him for some time as their top star and he literally took on some of the best wrestlers Japan had to offer.
Nakamura is trained in an MMA style along with Japanese Strong Style which focuses a great deal on strikes and submissions. He very well could still go with some in the UFC as he has all the tools to be a great fighter. Believe it or not, Nakamura has already competed in MMA, where he holds a pro record of 3-1-(1).
He’s had to settle for almost breaking Samoa Joe’s jaw and forcing Austin Aries into surgery, both times in which a rogue knee would clock both men in the face. Nakamura is a vicious striker in the world of pro-wrestling. Imagine what he could do in UFC?
2. Chad Gable
You may not know much about Chad Gable, but you probably should. Chad Gable could very well become one of the biggest stars WWE ever had. He has outstanding wrestling ability combined with a terrific charisma and personality. This makes his promos and ring work fun to see whether he is alone or with his tag partner Jason Jordan, mentioned earlier on the list.
Gable like others on the list, is pretty legit. Gable competed on the United States Olympic Wrestling team in 2012. He was actually the US Olympic Trials Champion and even won the gold medal at the Pan-American Games in wrestling. Clearly UFC has a lot of Olympians, so it would not be shocking to have a guy like Gable on the fighter list. He is currently 30 years of age, so if he did transition over, he might have a nice career in the octagon for the UFC.
1. Brock Lesnar
Were you expecting anyone else? Like, seriously? Brock Lesnar proved at UFC 200 this year that he can jump right back into the fold any time he chooses and that alone means that there is an easy transition. Plus, Lesnar is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, so it is not as if he can’t just hop over and have success.
He is still a tremendous athlete, despite pushing 40 years of age. Before he went to the UFC, he was an NCAA Heavyweight Champion and almost walked on to the Minnesota Vikings without ever playing football previously. The man is a freak athlete without question.
Most feel Brock went back to MMA full-time, he would easily win back the UFC Heavyweight title and may never let it go until he retired. He originally won the title not being his healthiest. Now that he’s healthier than ever…and that is a scary thought.