I have noticed a growing trend of pro wrestlers training MMA, guys like Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, Bryan Danielson, and Samoa Joe to name a few. There are also a few cases of MMA fighters attempting pro wrestling. Ken Shamrock, Tank Abbott, Dan Severn, Tough Enough’s Jeremiah Riggs and Josh Barnett are some examples. Most people know that Bryan Danielson trains MMA at Extreme Couture, and that Samoa Joe trains with Tito Ortiz’ Team Punishment MMA.
Fewer however know that Alberto Del Rio, AKA Dos Caras, Jr has competed in MMA since 2001, and holds an MMA record of 9-5. In truth, I’ve only seen him fight twice, both times under the PRIDE banner. Once against Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic, where ADR suffered the wrath of CC’s vicious headkick in a mere 46 seconds at PRIDE: Bushido 1, and the other was against Kazuhiro Nakamura where he dropped a unanimous decision loss at PRIDE 27: INFERNO. Those two losses however are the only time ADR ever lost back to back bouts. After the Nakamura bout, ADR went on a 6 fight win streak that lasted almost 4 full years, before losing his most recent bout, when he was on the losing end of a TKO in February of 2010.
Another MMA standout with a pro wrestling past would be Daniel Puder. He has sporadically competed in MMA from 2003 through 2009, compiling an MMA record of 8-0. Various injuries have somewhat held his career back though, and his most recent scheduled bout was set to be Tank Abbott, but Puder was once again injured, and the bout never materialized. Puder trains out of the famed American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. AKA is the home of UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, as well as notables John Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Phil Baroni, and Josh Thomson.
Another Pro Wrestling to MMA crossover was former WCW and WWE performer Sean O’Haire. From 2004 to 2007, O’Haire compiled an MMA record of 4-2, winning his first two fights, (his first by guillotine choke submission, and his second by TKO) Losing his third fight (by the same sub he won with, the guillotine choke, and losing his fourth bout (against pro boxer Butterbean) by…you guessed it…TKO.) Talk about breaking even. O’Haire went on to win his final two fights by KO.
Dave Batista is scheduled to make his pro MMA debut later this year, either in Strikeforce, or in British promotion BAMMA. (British Association of Mixed Martial Arts) He has work to do, as most pro wrestlers I know of that have jumped to MMA have winning records. Will Batista hold his own in MMA? Only time will tell.