Wrestling is an excellent base if you intend to transition to MMA as it shows you how to dominate and control the opponent while on the ground. It also helps you keep the fight where you want it to stay be it on the ground or standing up. This is ideal for MMA training considering that fights are often judged depending on effective cage control, aggression, and striking. Wrestlers are supposed to make weight for competitions just as MMA fighter do, meaning that the transition from wrestling to MMA is much easier for someone with a wrestling background. Wrestling affords you toughness that you do not get with other martial arts sports. It teaches you to push your body, regardless of exhaustion while also showing you to impose your will on an opponent.
All these benefits of having wrestling as a base explain why wrestlers are so good at mixed martial arts. Some examples of wrestlers who have made the transition from wrestling to MMA include the following.
He is one of the biggest wrestlers to make this change to mixed martial arts. Lesner was a huge attraction for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and his switch was a significant exploit for the UFC to have him on board. Brock Lesner had a good wrestling background so he did not come in completely unskilled not to mention the added advantage of him having a huge build. Even though things were not all rosy in his UFC debut, he came up to claim a heavyweight championship in his 4th fight professionally. His diverticulitis put a halt to his MMA career causing him to only engage in four more fights over three years. He retired from MMA late in 2011.
Shamrock is one of the pioneers of MMA and fans will remember him fondly during the ‘Attitude Era’ as the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Man’ when he was at UFC 1 and lost to Royce Gracie, the eventual winner. Shamrock then had a successful period as a wrestler before going back to the cage to stage a rivalry with Tito Ortiz.
Alberto Del Rio
This WWE superstar was successful MMA artist before his wrestling antics in professional wrestling. He was well established as a submission specialist and his most prominent fight was against Mirko Cro Cop, a Pride Legend, during which he lasted only 46 seconds. He retired in 2010 from MMA with a 9-5 record to concentrate on his wrestling career.
Lashley had a somewhat successful stretch as a wrestler, after which he moved to mixed martial arts and went 5-0, which included a victory over Bob Sapp. Lashley settled with Bellator finally and is currently undefeated as a heavyweight in five fights. Aside from competing in MMA, Bobby also wrestles for Impact wrestling.
Brooks also known as CM Punk is one of the biggest ex-WWE stars to move to the UFC. In 2014, he signed a promotion deal but his debut was pushed to December 2016 due to injuries. He was guided by top trainer Duke Roufus but even with all this training, he was unprepared for the takedown by Mickey Gall, who choked him out two minutes into their first fight. After a year there was still no announcement on another possible fight for this ex-WWE champion.