The Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Wrestling Entertainment have been intertwined in many ways over the past couple of decades. While those running the WWE did well to make that company into a billion-dollar entertainment avenue that has crossed over into the movie and music industries, the UFC has borrowed certain aspects from pro wrestling to make that organization successful. It is not uncommon for mixed martial artists competing under the UFC umbrella to cut promos on upcoming opponents, and the cage entrances that occur before big-time UFC fights are straight out of the WWE.
There are several reasons why current or would-be WWE performers would seriously consider making a career switch to the UFC. UFC fighters, for one, do not have the busy travel schedules that top WWE wrestlers have every year. Those who compete in UFC are prone to being on the receiving end of legitimate punches and kicks during fights, but they do not have to worry about taking bumps inside of hard rings during training sessions, house shows, events shown on television and also pay-per-view cards. It is far less taxing to be a UFC fighter than a WWE performer these days.
With this list, we're going to look at which WWE performers we'd love to see take a crack at MMA. Sure, a lot of these are pipe dreams and are extremely unlikely to happen, but that doesn't mean we can't dream about the possibilities.
Neville is a bit undersized as it pertains to what those running the WWE usually look for in a main event player, but that is something that he would not have to worry about were he to make the jump over to the UFC. He has, through years of training, put an impressive amount of muscle onto his frame, and Neville is also a phenomenal athlete who seemingly has the abilities to quickly adapt to whatever physical tasks would be asked of him as an MMA fighter. Neville will turn just 29-years old later on this year, and thus he would be able to train for years before his first ever UFC fight.
Charlotte has proven herself to be a tremendous athlete who was a personal trainer before she chose to become a professional wrestling. The real-life daughter of Ric Flair is widely considered to be a natural inside of the ring, for obvious reasons, and she may have the physical abilities to make a quick transition to the UFC. Charlotte just turned 29-years old earlier this year, so she would theoretically have plenty of time to learn all that she would need to learn in order to become a competitive UFC fighter who was ready for prime time.
12 The Miz
Do not lie to yourselves, Internet wrestling fans. You would love to see The Miz have a go in the UFC if only for the unintentional comedy that would occur. Miz has been criticized by bloggers, forum members and those who post about the WWE on social media websites throughout his career, and even what was an entertaining run as the WWE Champion was bashed by fans and supposed industry insiders. The hate people have had for the person and not for Miz the character has largely been undeserved, but it is that emotion that lands the former reality TV star on this list.
11 Xavier Woods
Of all of the performers who are currently signed to WWE deals, none could be more underrated as a wrestler and as a character than Xavier Woods. Woods cutting UFC promotions while playing a character similar to his older Consequences Creed gimmick is enough reason for why anybody should want to see him competing in the MMA world. The current member of wrestling stable The New Day is also known to be well-gifted as an athlete, and the 28-year old could realistically dabble in the UFC for years were he to one day grow tired of being in the WWE.
10 Dolph Ziggler
It turns out that love from the Internet wrestling community and also from crowds who attend events only means so much for certain WWE performers. Ziggler has never seriously been pushed as a main event star in the WWE, and he is currently stuck in the midcard level on shows. He was a successful amateur wrestler while growing up in Ohio and Ziggler also won championships while attending Kent State. Would Ziggler go on to have a better UFC career than CM Punk if the former member of the Spirit Squad left wrestling for MMA today? It is entirely possible.
9 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is one of several WWE stars signed with the company who first had other career hopes. Reigns actively pursued a life as a professional football player in both Canada and the United States, and he even got some looks from a couple of National Football League franchises. That alone speaks to how impressive an athlete the 29-year old pro wrestler is. Reigns has the look and the physical skills to at least give working for the UFC a shot. He would not be the best promo guy in the business, but neither was Brock Lesnar and Lesnar did just fine in the MMA world.
Natalie Neidhart learned her craft while working inside of the famous Hart Family Dungeon, so she has at least some experience in being stretched and in stretching out others. The performer known as Natayla is not just a pretty face who works in the WWE Divas division. She has a history of training in Jiu-Jitsu and in amateur wrestling, so she already has a leg up on other females who wrestle with the company. Natalya would not be UFC ready the day that she signed a contract with the company, but she could potentially be able to go inside of the cage in under a year.
7 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens, who used to go by his real name Kevin Steen while working for independent wrestling competitions, has everything that the UFC would want in a competitor. Owens has the look of a badass pro fighter, and he would, were he to be signed by the company, immediately become one of the best promo guys in all of the UFC. Owens would, like Punk and others on this list, need some time before he would be even remotely ready to take on an average fighter inside of the cage. At just 31-years old, Owens would have plenty of time to get ready for that first fight.
Do not brush this off as merely a suggestion of a big bruising pro wrestler one day giving it a go in the UFC. Rusev is still in his 20s (29-years old to be specific), and he has freakish athletic skills for a man with his size. Unless he were to go through some sort of a character change, the WWE really can only do so much with the “angry Russian” who feuds with American heroes such as John Cena. While the Rusev gimmick could still have hope as a WWE performer who headlines main event cards, he may one day realize that giving the UFC a shot may not be the worst idea for him.
There are not many better overall athletes in the WWE today than Cesaro, who made his way up the independent circuits before getting his opportunity to perform in the North American organization. Much like CM Punk, Cesaro would, at 34-years old, be up against it as it pertains to beginning a UFC career. Considering the wrestler's strength and impressive athleticism, I would not bet against him evolving into at least a respectable UFC competitor were he to walk away from the WWE in order to go all-in on a MMA career. Cesaro would, however, have to put those European uppercuts he uses in WWE matches to bed as a UFC fighter.
4 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan fought for everything that he has achieved during a long and prosperous pro wrestling career, one that eventually earned Bryan a chance to headline WrestleMania and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan's body has begun to betray him due to years and years of performing inside of hard rings, and he likely would have been better off pursuing a UFC career some time ago. History has shown that Bryan can achieve that which he sets his mind to, and thus those believing that Bryan could not have developed into a talented UFC fighter should consider changing that opinion.
3 The Undertaker
If only we could turn back the hands of time about 25 years to an era before The Undertaker's body was beaten up due to years and years of performing inside of WWE rings, this could have been a lot of fun to watch. Undertaker is a noted UFC/MMA fan. He has been seen cageside at UFC pay-per-view shows for years, and he has even incorporated portions of MMA maneuvers into his pro wrestling career. You have to admit that an Undertaker entrance before a legitimate UFC fight would be quite the showstopper, even if he was unable to get the job done inside of the cage.
1 Jack Swagger
It would be easy to understand why a performer such as Jack Swagger would have at least thought about abandoning his WWE dreams to hop on board with the UFC. Swagger has, more often than not, been an afterthought while working for the pro wrestling outfit, and that was even the case when he was booked to win the World Heavyweight Championship. An impressive collegiate athlete who competed in both wrestling and football, Swagger could have developed into at least a solid UFC fighter had he embraced that career and not the WWE after leaving college.
Those of you who heard that infamous edition of the Colt Cabana podcast featuring CM Punk know how the "Straightedge Superstar" feels about Ryback and about how "the Big Guy" handles himself while inside of a ring. What better place for those two to settle the score than inside of a UFC cage? A lot -- a LOT-- would have to occur for this to ever be a possibility outside of imaginations and video games, such as Ryback being willing to drop a significant amount of weight, but WWE fans can always dream of these two going at each other in an actual fight.
1. The Rock
One thing should be made clear here: There is a better chance of you, untrained fan of pro wrestling and/or of UFC, becoming a true MMA fighter than there is of The Rock lacing up the boots to fight one-on-one. The Rock is an international movie superstar who would never have the want or the need to enter the cage for anything outside of a promotional event, but we can always wonder what might have been had he taken a different career path in the middle of the 1990s. Before he was a jacked-up star of action films, The Rock was an athlete capable of becoming an elite UFC fighter. What could have been.