These are eight fighters we think could crossover to the WWE now that they are under the Endeavor umbrella.
WWE WrestleMania weekend kicked off at the start of April. While that alone may not garner much interest from mixed martial arts fans, news broke on Sunday that quickly changed that. UFC parent company, Endeavor, is taking ownership of WWE and merging it with the MMA promotion to create a sports-entertainment powerhouse.
While there’s a lot to unpack with that development, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was if fans of both industries would see a crossover within the two realms. If that is the case, these are eight names from the UFC that could find a second career in professional wrestling.
This is perhaps the easiest choice on the list. Conor McGregor has already used his star power to reach across the aisle and step foot in other combat sports. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to see his brash nature excel in professional wrestling. He and current WWE undisputed universal champion, Roman Reigns had a brief back-and-forth on social media years ago, but nothing materialized from that moment. Even recently, McGregor and Paul Heyman, Reigns’s on-air “wise man” have entered an online argument that shows both sides are more than ready to promote the idea.
Like McGregor, Jon Jones immediately has the name value that would make his crossover into professional wrestling appealing for both sides. Former two-division champion, Daniel Cormier already has a vested interest in the WWE, imagine if the two sides could come to an agreement to have their next confrontation occur in a wrestling ring. Vince McMahon has long loved the larger than life heavyweights and few have as much stature in combat sports today than UFC Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
Conor McGregor may be the easiest option this list but Colby Covington is a close second. The former welterweight title challenger has practiced professional wrestling for much of his run to the top in the UFC, so he would fit in perfectly within professional wrestling. His MAGA theme would make him the heel character that fans would love to hate. Plus, he has a strong wrestling base which would help make the transition smoother as has been seen with other former wrestlers, Matt Riddle and Brock Lesnar.
Like Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal’s act in recent years seems cut directly from years past in professional wrestling. Masvidal’s development as a character has helped him extend the longevity of his career, talking himself into multiple title shots and remaining one of the top draws in the 170-pound division. Of everyone on this list, Masvidal comes with the most experience in professional wrestling. He appeared in All Elite Wrestling alongside a group of teammates including Paige VanZant, Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski and others. As his career in MMA winds down, perhaps he’s already found a way to continue performing in the world of predetermined action.
The women’s division should also have representation on this list and Jessica Andrade is one that jumps off the page. With her power and deadly striking, WWE could easily promote her as a powerhouse. There are several names from women’s MMA that have successfully transitioned to professional wrestling, and Andrade could follow suit. There are many highlights of her slamming her foes while competing in the Octagon, and that power could easily transfer to wrestling, where she would be a devastating force from bell-to-bell.
Colby Covington and Michael Chandler as a pro-American tag team? This is the exact kind of carny that works in professional wrestling. Chandler is cut from a similar cloth when it comes to promotion as he talks as big of a game as Covington. While he doesn’t go to the same depths to trash talk, he’s never been shy about saying exactly how he feels about his peers in the cage. He has the fighting skills to back up every word as well, having obtained multiple championships in Bellator and reaching title challenger in the UFC.
Could you see Covington and Chandler partnering under the leadership of Kurt Angle in professional wrestling? Well, stranger things have happened.
Listen to any Sean Strickland interview and you’ll see exactly why he would fit in the world of professional wrestling. Strickland isn’t afraid to say anything that comes to mind, frequently making fun of anyone who is unlucky enough to be in the same room. While he inches closer to offending a wide swath of people, that’s unfortunately a big part of what makes some pro wrestlers special.
Strickland’s performance in the cage may often leave much to be desired, he still gets the job done when the opportunity presents itself. And still, professional wrestling is scripted and that would play well into Strickland’s deficiencies in the fight game.
Valentina Shevchenko fits in the “beautiful but deadly” aspect of women’s divisions across professional wrestling. Since stepping foot in the Octagon, she has long presented herself as a champion and when she reached that level, she held the throne with an iron grip. Alexa Grasso stopped that train, but no one would be surprised if Shevchenko found a way to get back to the top of the flyweight division or even took over bantamweight.
Shevchenko would fit well in professional wrestling, especially as the WWE continues to expand its horizons outside the United States. She could easily be a champion that is presented to fans and media as an icon for countries around the world.
Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts are closely linked, almost "cousins" in some ways. The merger between WWE and UFC may not cause any immediate impacts between the two brands, but don't be surprised if some stars from one world begin to pop up in the other.