From the Ring to the Cage


The concept of WWE to MMA sounds ridiculous to some die-hard UFC fans, while others will say it’s a logical move. Just ask Ronda Rousey, who has already transitioned from cage to ring in elegant style. 

Another merger happened this week that might make moving from WWE to MMA more logical; UFC and WWE executives converged on the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate a high-profile merger between the two organizations. With the financial union comes a cultural marriage that might see Roman Reigns taking on Jon Jones in the Octagon.

The merger will benefit both organizations, inevitably creating several spin-offs, business opportunities, and, almost certainly, talent sharing. Many fighters have moved between UFC and WWE, but only a few wrestlers go the other way. Some have tried. CM Punk and Brock Lesnar are examples, but no one could say either was a marriage made in heaven.

So we could look at some of the best World Wrestling Entertainment stars, retrain them to fight mixed martial arts, and see what the merger looks like—starting with Rhea Ripley.


Rhea Ripley, The Karate Kid

Rhea Ripley

We like Rhea Ripley as a transition candidate from WWE to MMA for two reasons: she’s young and, at 25, has time to train in mixed martial arts. Ripley holds a Karate belt and keeps in shape by swimming and playing women’s rugby and soccer. 

Ripley’s natural progression to UFC could hold the key to career progress or stop her in her tracks. Ripley is a winner right now, so she might not be keen on hanging up the black and gold belt in favor of cuts and bruises. In reality, Ripley will not be the first to come over from WWE, but we don’t think she will be the last.


Taynara Conti


Taynara Conti, aka Taynara Melo de Carvalho and Tay Melo, has a black belt in Judo, a blue in Jiu-Jitsu, and a killer instinct. Conti is a former sports club member, Vasco da Gama, based in Rio, and was part of the Brazilian Olympic team in 2016.

With this pedigree, Conti would easily transition from WWE to MMA, but would she want to? Yes, Conti is young and ambitious and good at her sport. She takes her finishing moves directly from MMA and adapts them accordingly – the step-up rolling cross-arm bar and Tayogoshi are great examples. So watch this space because Conti is coming!


Tolulope Omogbehin aka Omos


Omos hails from Nigeria and is 29, which is quite old for a fighter who only made his WWE debut in 2020, but Omos has what it takes to become a successful UFC challenger, and here’s why.

He’s a powerhouse, a giant of a man. Omos has huge fists on the end of a massive reach, and at 7ft 3, he is built like a tank. What Omos lacks in agility, he makes up in strength, power, and sheer brute force. Will he make the change from WWE to MMA? 

Probably not; his lack of agility and weight means he would be better placed in a boxing ring than a cage fight. With his bodyguard tendencies and excellent down-time sartorial style, Omogbehin is the man we would call if we were in trouble with the fashion police.


Walter Hahn – Gunther from Österreich


Gunther is an Austrian Intercontinental Champ and an expert in killer grapples. He is the leading authority on German and sleeper suplexes; he makes light work of the Boston crab and the Kojira clutch, but here’s the thing. Gunther is getting on a bit.

At 36, he’s a bit long in the teeth (and a touch flabby) to ever get near Leon Edwards, and as for would-be MMA fighter Ashton Kutcher, while no one takes the actor seriously, he could probably school Gunther on the power of method acting, although the jury’s out on that. So no, Walter Hahn is not high on the list, nor should he be unless he wants to end his career early.


Andrew McLean Galloway IV

Drew McIntyre

Andrew McLean Galloway IV, or Drew McIntyre to his friends, is another veteran WWE fighter who might take a swing at UFC. McIntyre hails from Bonnie Scotland, Prestwick, and anyone who knows Prestwick will understand this fighter’s determination. It’s the place that Robert the Bruce is said to have spent time in and to have drunk the water; so famous is Robert the Bruce in Scotland that anyone who may or may not have shared water with this famous warrior takes on his power.

It’s the stuff of legends, and McIntyre has bought into his heritage big style; however, at 37, his UFC days are probably over, but never say never. It is incredible what a diet of haggis and Cullen skink and a few rounds of tossing the caber can do for a man’s longevity.


Jade Cargill/Big Jade


Big Jade is no fool; she has a master’s in child psychology and is an ex-basketball champ. A late WWE starter, Cargill made her professional wrestling debut in 2020, interrupting Cody Rhodes while acting as an intro for Shaquille O’Neal.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter crowned Cargill ‘Rookie of the Year,’ and like most WWE stars, Cargill is a playable character in a game. All the fame is well and good, but the question remains: will Cargill make the transition? Cargill might benefit from a change of scenery, but she’s poised to take over the world as a women’s world champion, so the answer is probably not.


WWE stars that could make the move to UFC


There are lots of potential WWE stars who could make the move to UFC, but the fact is that UFC is hard work, and it requires skills and dedication that many WWE champs don’t have. It’s way easier to go from UFC to WWE, as we have seen with Ken Shamrock and Shayna Baszler, so the only thing we can suggest (not seriously) is a WWE+MMA baby-making factory.

Give it 20 years, and the offspring of Drew McIntyre and Taynara Conti, nick-named Feijoada Skunk, could take over as UFC world champion or not; the possibilities are endless – Conor McGregor and Asuka, anyone?


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