Both mixed martial arts (MMA) and pro(fessional) wrestling are two different sports. Even though both require you to get in the ring to engage in combat, they take two opposite forms of training, disciplines,and people.
As a result, it’s quite rare to read about either an MMA fighter or pro wrestler in MMA news who made the transition from one sport to the other.
Of course, there are plenty of wrestling rumors, but very rarely does it come out as truth. However, that’s not to say from time to time an athlete doesn’t pull one out of the bag. Below, you can read about three amazing sportspeople who transitioned from mixed martial arts to pro wrestling, or vice versa.
Matt Riddle is a much-loved player in the game of wrestling and MMA, and in the few years he has thrown his hat in the ring, he has been killing it across MMA news platforms. Matt first competed in The Ultimate Fighter, the highest rated original series on Fox Sports 1.
He had what could only be described as one of the most notable KO moments in the history of the show, as well as letting aggression get the better of him as he told UFC president Dana White to go “screw himself.”
Following on from his time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Matt made all those wrestling rumors fact by transitioning to the wrestling world. He hasn’t looked back since.
GzimSelmani was one man that appeared in MMA news more often than not and had a prosperous career in MMA for many years. Gzim was a part of BAMMA UK, a mixed martial arts promotion group in the United Kingdom.
He featured front and center in many wrestling rumors over this time, especially as he began wrapping up his MMA career in Bellator. If you’re still scratching your head, wondering whoGzimSelmani is, then think back to the days of Oli Thompson. Gzim submitted to Oli in only 18 seconds!
After his MMA career, he then went on to train in pro wrestling under the name of Rezar.
If there’s anyone who would be caught up in wrestling rumors and front page MMA news, then it would be Josh Barnett. Josh is one of the more well-known sportspeople who transitioned from MMA to pro wrestling, as well as being involved in different martial arts. He started in MMA in 1997, won his first nine fights, and joined UFC around 2000. He then made MMA news again after becoming the youngest UFC heavyweight champion, defeating Randy Coutre.
However, all the rumors surrounding a failed drug test were true. Josh’s career in UFC came to an end after this scandal. He then moved onto MMA and professional wrestling in Japan where he thrived.
Many names feature in MMA news, but very few of those names transition from MMA fighting through to pro wrestling. These three men above are a rarity, proving their talent, versatility, and dedication to the sport.