WWE superstars who have competed in the octagon including Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, CM Punk & Ken Shamrock
9th September 2020

A HANDFUL of WWE superstars have fought in the octagon.

Some started out as MMA fighters while others made the jump from the WWE to a cage.

Here are the top fighters who have appeared in both disciplines during their careers.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock’s mixed martial arts career begin in the Japanese pro wrestling organization Fujiwara Gumi on October 4, 1992.

In 1993, Shamrock was a part of UFC 1: The Beginning, the first event held by Dana White’s company that included eight competitors fighting in a one-night tournament format.

He made it out of the first round by defeating Patrick Smith via submission, but lost in the semi-finals to eventual contest-winner Royce Gracie.

In 1997, the MMA fighter made his WWE, then-WWF, debut during an episode of Monday Night Raw.

Nicknamed The World’s Most Dangerous Man, Shamrock was the referee for a submission match between Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13.

Shamrock, now 56, stuck around in the business as a wrestler – and would go on to feud with Vader, Bret Hart, the Hart Foundation, The Rock and Shawn Michaels.

During his time with the WWE, shamrock captured the Intercontinental title, the world tag-team championship, and won the 1998 King of the Ring tournament.

CM Punk

CM Punk, 41, made his WWE in 2006, under the ECW brand.

For eight years, he enjoyed a successful career in the organization, winning the ECW world title, the WWE world championship, the tag-team titles and the Intercontinental championship.

Punk is most famous for the pipe bomb promo he dropped on June 27, 2011, where he went after Vince McMahon with an explosive speech that shattered the fourth wall, questioning why he wasn’t being pushed as the top guy in the company.

He even suggested the company would be “better off when Vince McMahon is dead” and fired shots at John Cena, Triple H and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for being "a** kissers."

After his WWE departure in 2014, Punk announced that he had signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC.

He made his octagon debut at UFC 203, where he competed against Mickey Gall. Punk tapped out to Gall in the first round.

Punk’s second fight came in 2018, at UFC 225 when he fought Mike Johnson, eventually losing that bout via a decision.

Punk currently holds a 0-2 MMA record.

Dave Bautista

Dave Bautista, 51, began his wrestling career in 1999 and signed with the WWE in 2000.

From 2002 to 2010, he gained fame under the ring name Batista and became a six-time world champion, a three time tag-team champion and was the 2005 Royal Rumble winner.

After his exit from the WWE, Batista turned his attention to MMA and on October 6, 2012 he fought for Classic Entertainment Sports: Real Pain.

He made his MMA debut against 40-fight veteran Vince Lucero.

Batista would go on to win the fight by knockout in the first round.

The 51-year-old old would eventually set his sights on acting, appearing in movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, James Bond’s Spectre, Blade Runner 2049 and Marvel’s Avenger’s Infinity War and Endgame.

Jake Hager

Formerly known under his WWE ring name Jack Swagger, Jake Hager made the transition to MMA after his WWE departure.

In the WWE, Hager won the world heavyweight title and the United States title.

On November 13, 2017, Hager signed a contract with Bellator MMA as part of the heavyweight division.

In 2018, Hager made his Bellator debut against JW Kiser and went on to win the fight via submission in the first round.

In 2019, he faced off against TJ Jones at Belltor 221 and won against via an arm-triangle choke in the first round.

At Bellator 231, Hager’s fight against Anthony Garrett ended in a no contest, after Hager landed two unintentional groin strikes to Garrett.

The referee concluded Garrett was unable to continue the contest.

Bobby Lashley

As a talented amateur wrestler, Bobby Lashley took to MMA after gaining a solid push in the WWE.

He made his WWE debut in mid-2005, during an episode of SmackDown where he defeated Simon Dean.

After three years with the company, Lashley and the WWE parted way, and in 2008 he turned to MMA.

He made his MMA debut at the Mixed Fighting Alliance inaugural event There Will be Blood, where he defeated Joshua Franklin in 41 seconds via technical knockout (TKO).

Lashley would go on to compete in StrikeForce, Bellator, Shark Fights and other various promotions companies.

He finished his MMA career with a record of 15 wins and only two losses.

Lashley is currently sign with the WWE and is the current United States champion.

Shayna Baszler

Before she became one half of the WWE woman’s tag-team champions, Shayna Baszler was a skilled MMA fighter that fought under various promotions.

Nicknamed The Queen of Spades, Baszler began her MMA career in 2006 at Maximum Fighting Championship promotions

In August 2013, Baszler made her UFC debut when she fought against Colleen Schneider.

She was selected as one of the fighters in The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate.

Baszler defeated Schneider via an armbar submission in the first round.

On March 21, 2015, Baszler faced Amanda Nunes at UFC Fight Night 62. She lost the fight via TKO in the first round after taking multiple leg kicks.

On July 13, 2017, Baszler made her WWE debut when she participated in the Mae Young Classic tournament.

Ronda Rousey

Perhaps WWE’s biggest UFC signing, Ronda Rousey was a global superstar before she took her talents to the word of wrestling.

An Olympic judo fighter as a young teen, Rousey became the first female fighter to sign with the UFC in November 2012.

Dana White official crowned Rousey as the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.

In her first six title defenses, Rousey defeated every opponent in the first round either by submission or by knockout.

It was in her seventh title defense that Rousey was handed her first UFC defeat at the hands of Holly Holm.

Despite being heavy favorite, Rousey lost the bout via knockout in the second round, ending her three-year reign as champion.

In her return fight she fought Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 for the Bantamweight title, but failed to regain her throne, losing by way of knockout in the first round.

After stepping away from the octagon, Rousey signed with WWE in 2018 and made her in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34.

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar, 43, was an amazing amateur wrestler who transitioned to MMA.

Lesnar accomplished everything in the wrestling world, winning the NCAA Division I heavyweight title and the WWE world title just five months after his debut in 2002.

The former WWE champion departed the company in 2004 and signed with the UFC four years later.

Four fights into his UFC career, Lesnar earned a heavyweight title opportunity against Randy Couture at UFC 91.

He would go on to defeat Couture in the second round by TKO.

Lesnar would have two successful title defenses against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.

He would eventually drop the belt at UFC 121, when he lost to Cain Velasquez in the first round by TKO.

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