Wrestlers Who Would Dominate MMA

The common knock on pro-wrestlers is often that, since their brutality is scripted and choreographed, they wouldn't last one second in a real fight. But as Brock Lesnar proved (and possibly CM Punk will re-prove) pro-wrestlers are just as rough and tough as any athlete who actually wants to win for real. There are many stars who could headline WrestleMania one day and a UFC PPV the next. Here are some of the surest bets.

Alberto del Rio

The former four-time WWE Champion (and Lucha Libre legend) is a legitimate grappler who could absolutely cut it in MMA. We know this because he's done it already. Between 2001 and 2010, del Rio (while masked and under the name Dos Caras, Jr.) scored 14 professional fights in both Mexico and Japan, winning nine. Seven of those wins were by way of submission. So he's already shown that he can fight for real—what's stopping him from doing it again? (Besides WWE's money, of course.) Even though he's fast approaching 40, there's no reason to think he couldn't make an Octagon comeback and dominate the American MMA market, at least for a short while.


Despite not yet getting a main-event run in WWE, there's no doubt in any fan's mind that Cesaro (Antonio if you're nasty) is the real deal. He's one of the strongest athletes in all of wrestling, for one—other wrestlers may have bigger muscles, but those are often steroid-induced and thus purely cosmetic. It's very possible for a gigantic musclehead to barely be able to lift anything, while a legitimately strong athlete like Cesaro can lift (and swing around in the air a dozen or so times) basically anything. In addition, he has unspeakable stamina, and years of hard-nosed independent wrestling has trained him to take a hit just as well as he can dish one out. In WWE, his supposed lack of charisma holds him back from stardom (he's actually quite charismatic, just not in the over-the-top manner that Vince McMahon prefers), but in MMA, his winning record would be all the character he needs.

Seth Rollins

He's not very big, and typically plays a whiny, cowardly, corporate suck-up on TV, but don't discount Seth Rollins as a legitimate MMA threat. The former WWE Champion is actually a physical machine, despite covering it up half the time with a full bodysuit (complete with fake muscle lines, like he's Giant Gonzalez's Mini-Me). Plus, it's not just muscles—Rollins is a hardcore Crossfit enthusiast who could conceivably fight for hours on end (which would more than help him keep the pace in a 15-minute MMA bout). Plus, his independent wrestling run as Tyler Black was chock-full of hardcore matches and bloody moments that proved that, should he ever decide to tackle "real" fighting, he won't shrink away at the first sign of actual punishment.

Samoa Joe

At first glance, former Ring of Honor and TNA World Champion Samoa Joe doesn't look like he could dominate MMA. And true, he does look like a fat guy with little-to-no actual muscle definition. But Joe is as tough as they come, and as athletic as they come. His strikes and kicks are legitimately lethal, he can easily choke an opponent out (there's a reason people call him the "Samoan Submission Machine"), and working with him is like fighting a real-life war, even if you're scripted to defeat him. He may have to drop some weight (at 280 pounds, he's about a Freshman 15 too massive for the Heavyweight division), but if he did, he would quickly rule the Octagon.


To many, WWE Divas are universal phonies, chosen for their looks rather than their abilities in the ring. While this is oftentimes true (Bella Twins, anyone?) there are several who deserve appreciation for being true athletes who would perform as well as anyone in an MMA ring. Charlotte is perhaps the biggest lock of them all. For one thing, she's Ric Flair's daughter, meaning she has ring instincts in her blood. But more importantly, she's a physical marvel: tall, strong, naturally athletic (she was a champion volleyball player in college, and worked as a personal trainer before WWE came to call), and knows the value of working hard to improve herself. She's young, tough, and could absolutely be the next Rousey or Holm if she ever chose that path.

Daniel Bryan

There are few more complete packages in pro-wrestling than former WWE Champion Bryan "Daniel Bryan" Danielson. He's deceptively strong, given his size (five-foot-ten, and 200 pounds after Thanksgiving dinner). He can grapple, kick, and stretch you into submission with ease. His endurance is off the charts, judging by the multiple hour-plus marathon matches he's wrestled since his debut in 1999. And while he would probably have to abandon his iconic "YES, YES, YES!" chant, which he admittedly borrowed from UFC legend Diego Sanchez, he's more than charismatic and likeable enough to find another way to catch on with the MMA crowd.

Bryan's only weakness is injuries—since May 2014, he's rarely seen action, thanks to a combination of major neck surgery and severe concussions. But if he could work through those issues (thanks to the UFC actually providing its fighters health insurance, unlike certain pro-wrestling companies out there), MMA's less-grueling schedule might just be perfect for him. After all, he's clearly perfect for MMA.