Last week, UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor caused quite a stir in the professional wrestling world after he said that he would "slap the head off of the entire WWE roster," which prompted AJ Styles, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, and Ric Flair to respond, among others.
Then, just a couple of days later, McGregor took a shot at John Cena, as he called him a "big fat, 40-year-old failed Mr. Olympia mother f***er." As of this writing, Cena hasn't responded.
It's become clear that McGregor is just trying to get attention on himself, as he has a fight coming up in less than a week against Nate Diaz. In the past, McGregor has been a mastermind when it has come to promoting his upcoming fights and he clearly believes that his anti-WWE comments have been good promotional material.
Of all the pro wrestlers who have responded to McGregor's comments, there are only a select few who would have a shot against him in an actual fight, whereas the majority of them wouldn't stand a chance, which is what we're here to discuss!
15 Could: Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE NXT star Shinsuke Nakamura is known as "The King of Strong Style" for good reason, as Nakamura has a mixed-martial-arts background, holding a professional MMA record of 3-1-1, with all three of his wins coming by way of submission.
Nakamura hasn't competed in mixed-martial-arts in over ten years, but he clearly still has the ability to compete in the sport. Of course, like most of the people who will be featured on this list, Nakamura would have a significant weight advantage over McGregor if the two ever stepped inside the Octagon.
Would "Mystic Mac" vs. "The King of Strong Style" be the most intriguing pro wrestling vs. MMA match-up? Probably not, mostly because Nakamura isn't yet a huge name in the United States. But there's no doubt that the NXT star would be capable of holding his own inside the Octagon with the current Featherweight Champ.
14 Couldn't: Chris Jericho
To be fair, Chris Jericho didn't exactly respond to McGregor the same way his other fellow pro wrestlers did, so he probably understands that picking a fight with the UFC Featherweight Champion probably wouldn't make him look all that good.
Even though most wrestlers do consider Jericho a pretty tough guy, he has no MMA experience. So, while Jericho vs. McGregor in the UFC would probably do big business, it wouldn't be the best move for Jericho to go one on one with the UFC megastar.
Jericho has, however, won fights in the locker room against guys who were supposedly much more dangerous than him, as "Y2J" has told the story of a backstage brawl between he and Goldberg, which he ended up winning. So, who knows? Maybe the first-ever Undisputed Champ would do better inside the Octagon than we think.
13 Could: Chad Gable
Chad Gable is a former Minnesota state amateur wrestling champion, as well as a former Olympian. So, he definitely has the skills to transition to the world of mixed-martial-arts. He competed in the 84 kilogram category (185 pounds) during his stint in the Olympics, so he's around the same size as Conor McGregor.
Gable has almost everything you'd would want if you were a wrestling promoter: he has the in-ring skill, he has the charisma, however, the only thing he's missing is the size, which will probably hold him back in his WWE career. But, if he were to ever make the transition to MMA, he has the skill set to do quite well there.
In WWE, Gable is billed at 202 pounds, which is probably fairly accurate. If he were to compete in MMA, he would probably be able to make 170, which is the weight class that McGregor is competing at this weekend. So, in theory, he could end up facing the "Mystic Mac" if he switched careers.
12 Couldn't: AJ Styles
AJ Styles did do some amateur wrestling in high school and his striking combos in the ring have always looked good, but I highly doubt that he'd be able to make a successful transition into mixed-martial-arts at this point in his life.
Shortly after McGregor sent out his anti-WWE tweet, Styles responded by saying that the UFC Featherweight Champion would do well in WWE "if we had a featherweight division." Basically, Styles, who's undersized himself, was mocking McGregor's size, which was really quite baffling.
Styles is a fantastic athlete, and he could be the best in-ring worker in the world today. However, he'd be far from one of the best in the world inside the Octagon. But, to be fair, Styles probably would've been a pretty good fighter had he committed himself to the sport in his younger days. But could he step inside the Octagon now and even have a shot against Conor McGregor? No.
11 Could: Jason Jordan
Like his tag-team partner Chad Gable, Jason Jordan is a well-decorated former amateur wrestler and he's a phenomenal athlete on top of that. So he could've easily been successful in mixed-martial-arts if he chose to go that route.
It looks like WWE is planning on making Jordan a huge singles star after the American Alpha team disbands. So, he probably won't have the desire to leave WWE for the UFC anytime soon.
Jordan competed at heavyweight during his amateur wrestling days and his billed weight in WWE is 275 pounds, which is probably pretty far off. But, even if it wasn't, he's still significantly bigger than Conor McGregor, which means that he'd have a fairly easy time taking the Featherweight Champ to the ground. So, it's probably safe to say that McGregor wouldn't be able to slap the head off of Jason Jordan.
10 Couldn't: Seth Rollins
Like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins is a fantastic athlete and he could be the best in-ring worker in the business today. However, he doesn't exactly have the skill-set to compete in mixed-martial-arts, as he has been a pro wrestler for the majority of his adult life.
Rollins is billed at 217 pounds, so if he were to make the transition to mixed-martial-arts, he'd likely compete at middleweight (185 pounds). So, he and McGregor wouldn't even be in the same weight class, but it wouldn't matter.
It's not likely that Rollins will pull a CM Punk and leave WWE to pursue a career in mixed-martial-arts. But, if he did, he's young enough, and a good enough athlete to where he could have some success. Could he compete at a high level though? We'll probably never know, but my guess is that he couldn't.
9 Could: Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger was a highly-successful amateur wrestler during his time at the University of Oklahoma, as he set the record with most pins in a single season with 30. He's also a former All-American wrestler.
It's weird to think that Swagger has decided to stick it out in WWE, despite the fact that they've used him poorly for the majority of his time there. Sure, he's a former World Champion, but his Title reign was a complete joke and he has never been taken seriously in WWE.
He definitely has all the tools to be successful in MMA and he definitely has the skill-set and the size to beat Conor McGregor. So, much like with Jason Jordan, the current Featherweight Champion probably wouldn't be able to slap the head off of Jack Swagger, because if he tried, he'd probably get taken to the ground and pounded into oblivion by the former NCAA All-American.
8 Couldn't: The Miz
This is probably the most obvious one. The Miz doesn't possess any qualities that would make anyone believe that he's a legitimate tough guy. He's had a successful career in WWE, but he's never been portrayed as a guy who had the ability to take care of himself in a real fight.
The Miz would have the size advantage over Conor McGregor, but that's it. He wouldn't have the skill advantage, he's not a better athlete, and he wouldn't even be the better talker of the two. So, it's safe to say that The Miz would get smashed by anyone if he ever stepped inside the UFC's Octagon.
Luckily for The Miz, and for us, the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion will probably never get the itch to step inside the Octagon, and if he ever did, he'd probably embarrass himself. So staying in professional wrestling is probably a smart move for The Miz.
7 Could: Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin is a former two-time South Carolina state wrestling champion and he compiled a 36-6 record as a heavyweight at the University of Minnesota. Benjamin was also a junior college track and field champion in the 100-meter dash, so he's a phenomenal athlete on top of having a good amateur wrestling base.
Benjamin has had a relatively successful career in professional wrestling, but it is baffling that he never tried mixed-martial-arts give the fact that he'd have the potential to be one of the best pure athletes in the sport.
The aforementioned athleticism would most definitely give Conor McGregor problems if the two ever fought. Of course, Benjamin is north of 40, so he probably wouldn't do as well against McGregor now as he would have in his younger days. But he'd still have the ability to prevent the Featherweight Champion from slapping his head off.
6 Couldn't: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose is presented as a wild and crazy guy in the world of WWE, but that wildness and craziness definitely wouldn't transition over to the world of mixed-martial-arts, which means that McGregor would be able to slap the head off of the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Of course, like anyone else, Ambrose has the ability to learn how to be a competent fighter and, given how young his is, he would even have the potential to be successful in MMA if he ever decided to make that his full-time career. But, for now, he's one of WWE's top guys and it doesn't look like that will change any time soon.
An Ambrose vs. McGregor fight would definitely be a huge deal, but we probably won't ever see it, unless the Featherweight Champion ever comes to WWE, and even then, it wouldn't be a fight, it would just be your usual pro wrestling match.
If McGregor ever did come to WWE, Ambrose would probably be the perfect opponent for him. But, WWE would probably end up pairing McGregor with John Cena instead.
5 Could: Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler was a highly-decorated amateur wrestler at Kent State University, as he set the all-time wins record (121) for the school. His record was eventually broken in 2006, and he currently stands second on the school's all-time wins list. He was also a three-time All-Mid-American conference champion.
During his collegiate wrestling days, Ziggler competed at 165 pounds, and today, he's being billed at 218 pounds, although he's probably much smaller than that. If Ziggler ever had the desire to, he'd probably be able to make it down to the UFC's lightweight limit of 155 pounds, which is where Conor McGregor will eventually make the transition to at some point in his career.
Ziggler is also a fantastic athlete, so if you combine that with his amateur wrestling ability, he has more than enough tools to hold his own against McGregor. Sadly though, we'll never get to see him try, unless of course McGregor comes to WWE and specifically asks to work with Ziggler, because WWE probably wouldn't pair "Mystic Mac" with "The Show Off" otherwise.
4 Couldn't: Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns had quite the response to Conor McGregor's tweet, as he said that the Featherweight Champ wouldn't have a chance against him because he was too small. We all know that Reigns is a lot bigger than McGregor, but does he have the skills to not get head kicked by the UFC megastar? Probably not.
Reigns is probably a top candidate to face McGregor if he ever comes to WWE and, if that match does end up happening, the UFC star will own Reigns on the microphone, unless WWE forces him to recite scripted dialogue.
WWE would probably keep McGregor away from Reigns, unless they think that having Reigns go against an outsider would get the fans to cheer for him. But, even then, the fans would probably still boo the former WWE World Champ.
Even though Reigns is significantly bigger than McGregor, the current Featherweight Champ would probably have no problem taking him out inside the Octagon. If you think this wouldn't be possible, watch early UFC videos where a small Royce Gracie would beat much larger fighters. Size isn't everything.
3 Could: Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle won an Olympic gold medal with a broken neck and he's probably the greatest amateur wrestler to ever make the transition into sports-entertainment. It's actually kind of a tragedy that he never made the move to MMA at any point in his career, although he has said that he strongly considered doing so in the mid-2000s.
Even though he's nearing 50 years old, Angle could probably take anyone in the WWE locker room in a real fight and he does have the skill-set to take Conor McGregor inside the Octagon. Of course, because of his age, Angle would probably end up having a ton of problems, but he still has the tools to be successful.
Angle isn't the biggest guy in the world, but he still would have a significant size and strength advantage over McGregor, while McGregor would have the speed, striking, and athleticism advantage. But, if Angle were to get him to the ground, McGregor may not figure out how to get up.
2 Couldn't: John Cena
John Cena has been WWE's top man for well over a decade and, during that time, he's never even tried to position himself as a legit tough guy. He's even said that he isn't a fan of mixed-martial-arts, which probably means that he clearly has never even considered participating in any combat sport.
Cena is big, and he's strong, but he's not the greatest athlete in the world. So McGregor would probably run circles around him. Cena also doesn't really have the greatest working punch in the world, which might mean that he doesn't know how to throw a real punch and that would cause some issues for him if he were to fight the UFC megastar.
As previously mentioned, if Conor McGregor ever did make a deal with WWE, they'd probably put him in the ring with John Cena, as the two men are the biggest draws for their respective companies, and a match between the two would probably do big business.
1 Could: Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar probably outweighs Conor McGregor by over 100 pounds, and he's arguably just as good of an athlete as McGregor is. So, Lesnar would have the size advantage, the strength advantage, and maybe even the athleticism advantage. Of course, Lesnar is also a superior wrestler, so he'd have no problem with slamming McGregor through the Octagon.
Obviously Lesnar vs. McGregor would never happen in the UFC, but it could happen in WWE. However, McGregor may not agree to do it, because WWE would probably want to have Lesnar win the match. Also, Lesnar would probably want to go over in the match.
Lesnar vs. McGregor in WWE would definitely help bump up the WWE Network's subscription numbers, but the match would probably be a complete disaster. So, you probably shouldn't expect to see it happen even if McGregor does end up going to WWE at some point.