Over the last few years, we’ve seen several high profile WWE stars make the move to mixed martial arts. The results of their efforts have ranged from spectacular to disastrous.
Brock Lesnar undoubtedly realized the most success of any of these pro wrestlers, putting his collegiate wrestling pedigree to use to win and defend the UFC heavyweight title. Bobby Lashley, who also has a college wrestling background, has achieved fairly major success of his own in the MMA arena, having established himself as one of Bellator’s very best heavyweights. Then there’s Dave Bautista, who won his lone MMA endeavour, scoring a first-round TKO over Vince Lucero in the CES MMA cage. Finally and most recently there was CM Punk who, at 37 years old and with very little MMA experience, bravely stepped into the Octagon at UFC 203 only to be mauled by 23-year-old prospect Mickey Gall.
Yes, there is a long history of pro wrestling stars attempting to test themselves in the unscripted world of MMA – and really, of mixed martial artists trying their hand in the pro wrestling arena as well.
The latest name to cross between these two sports is former WWE star Ryback Reeves – known simply as Ryback in the ring. Earlier this year, the pro wrestler announced his intention to to take the plunge into the perilous world of MMA, and now, video has surfaced of him training to that end.
This footage, which comes courtesy of Jim Edwards of FloCombat.com, can be viewed at the top of this post.
Needless to say, Ryback still looks incredibly raw. While this newly released video doesn’t show his progressions in the grappling department, his striking still needs a good deal of sharpening.
Despite his experiential deficit, the former pro wrestler recently announced that he’s already been approached by several promotions, the most notable of which being Bellator.
“Bellator has reached out,” Ryback said on the Sirius XM podcast Busted Open Radio in September. “They definitely want me to fight for them. That would probably be in a year’s time. I can’t make an honest decision on that until at least January when I’m sitting with my nutrition company and the website and the book. I have my hands in too many jars right now. As a business man, I am absolutely open to the idea of it. It just has to be the right fit for me.”
Ryback also explained that’s he’s confident he can overcome any experiential disadvantages with his incredible physical tools – something he says CM Punk lacked in his UFC debut.
“I give Punk a lot of credit for the courage that he showed,” Ryback said on the show. “But [the UFC] made a lot of key mistakes with him. He’s not a physical specimen who’s going to manhandle anybody. He needs to really, really have all his cards lined up for that to go well.”
“He bit off more than he can chew going up against Mickey Gall for his first fight. I believe I’m truly an entirely different human being and I will dedicate myself 8, 10, 12 hours a day to whatever I have to do if I choose to go that route.”
How do you think Ryback’s run in MMA will go? Will he realize the success of Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley, or go the way of CM Punk? Sound off, PENN nation!