Ever since Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012 and made an immediate impact by attacking John Cena, there has been a rise of combat sportspeople who have tried their luck inside the squared circle.
There’s Brock, The Four Horsewoman (The MMA version, which contains Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir), Matt Riddle and Cain Velasquez; all of whom are currently in WWE. I’ve not even mentioned people like ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor, currently wrestling for MLW, and Minoru Suzuki, currently wrestling in NJPW. It goes back to the 90’s too, when people like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn were wrestling too.
It’s easy to see why so many UFC athletes choose WWE. You get more money, a less punishing schedule and if you were a top-level competitor, like Rousey and Lesnar, then you’ll get pushed to the moon. More and more UFC athletes are starting to choose wresting instead of UFC. Velasquez is the most recent, but he won’t be the last. This article is about five other combat sportspeople who would excel in WWE. There’s obviously a chance that all five of these people will never go to WWE, but if they did and were given enough time, then they could become WWE stars in a matter of months.
5. Daniel Cormier
This one seems like it could happen. Daniel Cormier has been linked with WWE for what feels like years now, both as a wrestler and as a commentator. With Smackdown now on Fox every Friday, it is the perfect time for Cormier to retire from UFC and become a commentator for WWE.
Interestingly, Cormier could have already been working for WWE. In late 2018, he was allegedly supposed to have a try-out as a WWE commentator but a fight against Derrick Lewis put a stop to that. However, now that Smackdown is on Fox, and Fox wanting a more sports-orientated feel to the show, recruiting a world-class athlete like Cormier could prove a big move.
He has wrestling experience, having been an accomplished amateur wrestler in High School, which would come in useful. He also has history with Brock Lesnar, with a long-rumoured fight between the two never coming to fruition. At 40 years old, he probably doesn’t have many UFC fights left in him, and with Cormier wanting to spend more time with his family, a move to WWE would make perfect sense. He would add an air of legitimacy to proceedings and would be bringing expert knowledge of people like Velasquez, Lesnar and Baszler, which would make them seem even more dangerous than they already are.
4. Cris Cyborg
Like Daniel Cormier, this one seems likely to happen at some point in the future. Cyborg has made no secret of her love of professional wrestling, and despite signing a multi-year deal with Bellator recently, it’s surely only a matter of time before the 34-year-old Brazilian is inside a squared circle.
Cyborg recently did an interview in which she reiterated her love of wrestling and said she would be interested in wrestling for WWE or AEW. She said:
“I love both AEW and WWE and the fans of professional wrestling are always stopping me in the street asking me when I am going to have a wrestling match. If the opportunity presents itself, and the deal makes sense, I would love to challenge myself with pro wrestling.”
There are several amazing options for her if she were to choose WWE. Like Cormier/Lesnar, the long-awaited Cyborg/Rousey match never happened in UFC, but could, and probably would, happen in WWE. Aside from any of the MMA Four Horsewoman, Cyborg and Becky Lynch had an argument on Twitter a couple of years ago. With Becky now the hottest star in WWE, a Cyborg vs Lynch could draw a huge number of eyes to WWE, particularly if they do it on a big PPV. Cyborg wants it, Lynch wants it and perhaps most importantly, the fans want to see it. Expect rumours of Cyborg going to WWE to increase dramatically over the next 18 months.
3. Paige VanZant
You only have to look at Paige VanZant to see why Vince McMahon would be infatuated with her. She’s everything Vince looks for in a WWE female superstar. She’s young (She’s only 25), she’s blonde and she’s beautiful. Underneath all that, however, is a born fighter who’s destined to become a major superstar very soon.
Like Cyborg, VanZant has admitted an interest in joining WWE one day, saying in an interview last year:
“I’m not ready to leave the UFC just yet… I love being a professional fighter and I still have a long career ahead of me. I also think the WWE is an amazing organisation and it’s a very athletic entertainment industry which would suit me. There’s probably huge potential for a crossover down the line and of course I’m a big fan of what they do, so it would be great to be a part of.”
There is something very Nikki Bella like about Paige VanZant, and I mean that as a compliment. Like Nikki, she is very well-known for her adventures outside the ring/octagon. Like Nikki, underneath the glitz and the glamour, there is a fighter who is underappreciated by her company. Like Nikki, she’s a lot tougher than she looks. However, if properly used, VanZant has the potential to become a much bigger star than Bella. She has the potential to become one of the top female fighters on the planet, and WWE would be insane if they didn’t at least enquire about VanZant in the near future.
2. Jordan Burroughs
Jordan Burroughs might not be as well known a name as the others on this list, but he’s very well-known in amateur wrestling circles. A Gold Medal winning athlete (sound familiar?), he has won medals and trophies across the globe, and after the 2020 Olympics, says he is considering a change in career. Dana White has made enquires towards his availability, so if WWE are as smart as they claim to be, then they will do everything in their power to sign this man and make full use of his limitless potential.
There are obvious links to both Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar. All three are accomplished amateur wrestlers and, like Angle, he has won a gold medal at an Olympic Games. However, Burroughs’ accomplishments far outweigh those of Angle. He is one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers in history, and wherever he goes, success is bound to follow.
Burroughs doesn’t lack confidence either. His cockiness, plus his natural ability would make him a perfect fit for WWE, and Smackdown on Fox in particular. At 30 years old, he’s the perfect age for WWE. They can mould him into a genuine superstar, and if they book him correctly, he could become one of the best in the world in no time at all.
1. Conor McGregor
Yeah, I know. He’s not exactly the easiest person to deal with, especially considering recent allegations against him. However, it’s not as though WWE haven’t hired/rehired problematic people before (looking at you, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair) The fact of the matter is, if you’re looking for a genuine superstar, and there’s very few of them left out there, then Conor McGregor might just be your best option.
It’s not as though he hasn’t flirted with the idea before. After Wrestlemania this year, McGregor put out this tweet, congratulating Becky Lynch and asking Stephanie McMahon if she reckoned he could mix it with the other WWE Superstars.
Obviously, nothing ever happened, but the fact he mentioned it was enough to set people’s minds ablaze. The fact that one of the most recognisable faces on the planet was at least contemplating the idea should be enough for WWE to try and sign him.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a one and done deal, or if he decides to stick around for a bit. He has enough buzz around him to generate a lot of buzz for WWE (be it positive or negative) and will put a lot of eyes onto WWE. Even if it’s a one off, the buzz surrounding Conor McGregor should be enough for WWE to at least seriously consider signing McGregor.
Five people, all of whom would excel in WWE, and whom WWE should seriously consider signing. I’ve probably missed someone really good or have put someone on who people think shouldn’t be on there (especially number 1). Feel free to drop a comment below or find me on Twitter. Until then, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!