Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts have long been strange bed fellows. From the birth of MMA with Muhammad Ali versus Antonio Inoki to a number of wrestlers fighting in combat sports in Japan during the 19980s and 1990s, the two genres have seen plenty of crossover. MMA fans can play free slots prior to the next big UFC or Bellator event before their favourite fighters take to the octagon.
WWE women’s wrestler Becky Lynch is the latest professional wrestler to comment on a possible career in MMA post-sports entertainment. The 32-year-old has been wrestling for the WWE since 2015. However, her background in wrestling goes back far longer as growing up in Ireland she trained and debuted in 2002 with NWA UK Hammerlock.
Becky Lynch to MMA
MMA coach John Kavanagh recently claimed he could turn Lynch into a combat sports fighter if given a year to work with her. In a response to Kavanagh’s comments, the WWE superstar left the door open to a possible future in the sport once she takes a break, or retires, from the WWE.
Kavanagh coaches Lynch’s fellow Irish compatriot Conor McGregor, which could give the WWE wrestler plenty of incentive to try her hand at MMA. McGregor himself has previously praised Lynch for her work in the WWE. It led to many believe McGregor would join up with Lynch and company in the world of sports entertainment.
Lynch is currently one of the hottest properties in the WWE and features in one of the most prominent storylines in the company alongside Seth Rollins. The last 18 months have seen Lynch truly reach the top of her game in the WWE winning a number of championships and awards including CBS Sports Wrestler of the Year in 2018.
Mixed Results from Crossover
Results have been mixed when it comes to crossovers been MMA and pro wrestling. While there have been positives such as Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock in the 1990s and more recently Bobby Lashley and Jake “Jack Swagger” Hager, there have also been plenty of flops.
Current WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar took two sabbaticals from working in the WWE to fight in UFC. However, the use of performance enhancing drugs during his time in the UFC have left a cloud over the former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
The most notable wrestler turned MMA fighter flop was CM Punk. He lost his UFC debut and follow up fight. The former WWE World Champion was defeated via submission in his first bout before losing by a decision in his second.
The outspoken former WWE man was expected by many fringe MMA and WWE followers to make a big splash. However, his performances in the octagon were subpar at best.
Ronda Rousey, at one time UFC’s hottest fighter, made the jump from MMA to WWE. She too found results to be mixed. The workload along with the grind of the road led many to believe she would quite the WWE this year. The former UFC women’s champion is expected to return to the WWE, however, in the near future.
Lynch could be the next wrestler to test the MMA waters. Like Punk, she will have an ‘X’ on her back from day one coming from the WWE.