WWE Superstar Sonya Deville says it is a “natural transition” for MMA fighters to crossover to professional wrestling.
Over the years, many MMA fighters have tried their hand at pro wrestling, and a few have even transitioned to the sport completely. Big-name fighters such as Ronda Rousey, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos have made incredible appearances in wrestling rings.
WWE star Sonya Deville, or Daria Berenato, is no stranger to mixed martial arts herself. She, too, crossed over, holding an amateur MMA record of 2-1.
Her love of fighting and being on stage created an easy transition into wrestling.
“I feel like it’s just a natural crossover in a lot of ways. For me, I like doing both. I like performing and fighting so it was a no-brainer. You get larger-than-life personalities in both MMA and professional wrestling. They have a lot of dualities and commonalities, so I just feel like it’s kind of a natural transition.”(h/t MMA Fighting)
A handful of MMA fighters can promote a fight just as well as they can take home the victory.
Take Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, for instance. Both fighters’ entertaining personalities make crowds go wild. Add that to their competitive fighting skills and you get the basic formula for a professional wrestler.
Pro Wrestlers Who Started In MMA
Outside of Deville, there is a handful of other MMA fighters who started out as mixed martial artists.
“The Queen of Spades” Shayna Baszler started her professional MMA career in 2003. Although her debut in the WWE was in 2015, she retired from mixed martial arts two years after.
WWE’s Matt Riddle also sports a professional MMA record. Before he was a member of RK-Bro, he fought mainly in the UFC as a welterweight. He won his last fight via a guillotine finish in 2014 at Titan FC 27.
Deville’s notion that more MMA fighters will join wrestling in the future could very well be true.
UFC Bantamweight Champion Julianna Peña has mentioned giving WWE a shot in the future. Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg practiced her wrestling moves with AEW’s Thunder Rosa not too long ago and said she would also give the sport a try.
Which MMA fighters would you like to see in the professional wrestling ring?