10 UFC Fighters Influenced By WWE

It's a two way street.

The influence mixed martial arts has had on pro wrestling, in terms of shaping in ring styles and leading pro wrestlers to jump ship to MMA, is far from a one way street. As much as the sport, still realistically in its infancy, has influenced promotions like the WWE, so too has the WWE influenced the rank and file of the MMA world, and particularly, the UFC. There's no doubt about it: many UFC stars grew up pro wrestling fans, because frankly, mixed martial arts as we know it today didn't even exist until the early 90s, and even then, it was an underground sport. While that budding sport slowly grew into the multi-billion dollar business it is today, WCW and the WWE were there, serving as entertainment for young, up and coming gym rats. You can easily spot those influenced by the likes of Hogan, Macho Man, Ultimate Warrior, Undertaker, and the like (not to mention newer stars), and we're not just talking about fights like Ken Shamrock or Brock Lesnar, who have dipped their toe into both worlds...

10. Chael Sonnen

While he's no longer an active fighter in mixed martial arts (though he continues to compete in grappling competitions), there's no question that the Gangster from West Linn (that's in Oregon, for those without a map handy) was heavily influenced by the wrestling business. It's clear as day in his promos, which are frankly as good as most of the WWE roster. It's clear as day in his antics, which at one point included carrying around a replica belt and calling himself the real champion. How heavily influenced by wrestling and the WWE is Sonnen? Well, he can count CM Punk among his associates, and at one point was set to have Punk accompany him to the octagon, at least until Vince McMahon vetoed the idea. That was well before Punk had left the WWE, of course, And speaking of McMahon, he, or at least someone in the company, took notice of Sonnen's talents: A few years back, the fighter was reportedly in talks to join the promotion, possibly to continue a feud with rival Wanderlei Silva. It never came to pass, however, and instead, Sonnen joined the announce team at GFW.
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Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.