With the FOX debut looming, according to Forbes, the network is asking WWE to bring in credible names from the world of MMA. The company plans to do so internally; bringing up Shayna Baszler is one obvious option. The other would be to have Ronda Rousey return. Lesnar is also confirmed for the debut show – the UFC contingency is already quite clear.
However, there are several other rumored names from the octagon that can join the squared circle. According to Forbes, a prominent name even recently auditioned for a potential role as a commentator for the SmackDown show. We’ll shed a light on which UFC fighter that is during the article.
On the flip side, we’ll also discuss UFC stars WWE needs to avoid for one reason or another. Enjoy, let’s get started!
15 Sign - Paige VanZant
VanZant is back with the UFC and she appears to be better than ever coming off a victory. That said this might be the ideal time to sign VanZant. Putting the W aside, she is one of the most popular UFC faces and a huge presence via social media – basically, a match made in heaven for VanZant and WWE to come together.
Paige also added fuel to the rumors going on the record and confirming her interest in the company several times.
14 Avoid - Ken Shamrock
Not only does Ken Shamrock want a WWE return but as he details to Wrestling Inc, he wants a shot at the title; “Here was always the idea to have the opportunity to finish some unfinished business. If that happens, that will be great. That would be awesome. I think for myself, the fans and also the company. I think people would buy into me coming back and actually making a run at that title.”
At the age of 55, taking this route might not be the wisest decision for WWE and even Ken himself.
13 Sign - Israel Adesanya
The 30-year-old is one of the more entertaining UFC fighters. Not only that but he has an undefeated record as well.
He’s quite the showman inside the octagon and the same holds true for his demeanor outside of the cage. That might have something to do with his love for WWE; in fact, he channeled his inner Dwayne Johnson and Stone Cold in the past. He also commented on wanting to hit a WWE move in the octagon. All of this can lead to a WWE deal in the future and one few would oppose.
12 Avoid - Mike Goldberg
His UFC departure was a surprising one, to say the least. It is also believed that back in 2017, WWE made a huge money offer for his services.
FOX wants a big UFC presence, however going after Mike Goldberg might be a little too late. WWE is better off calling Mauro Ranallo for the SmackDown Live show, a credible voice with a wealth of knowledge for the wrestling business.
11 Sign - Chael Sonnen
On the other hand, Sonnen would make for a great color commentator. The guy truly oozes charisma and he’s definitely never short when it comes to words.
According to Chael, WWE made a huge money offer years ago worth millions. That deal was as a performer. Given that he’s in his 40s now, perhaps a commentary role at this point might be more appropriate.
10 Avoid - Arjan Bhullar
During his free agency, Arjan admitted that he has serious interest in joining the WWE. He also pitched for Jinder Mahal to accompany him into the octagon during his title run – though due to complications, that didn’t work out.
This would be a 'no for now' type of ordeal – Arjan needs a little more experience in the wrestling industry before signing with the company.
9 Sign – Cris Cyborg
With her UFC contract finally ending, according to Ring Side News, it might finally be time for Cyborg to enter the world of pro wrestling. Rumors also indicate that she was spotted at the WWE PC most recently.
She already seems to be starting the fire with recent jabs at both Becky Lynch and of course, long-time rival Ronda Rousey.
8 Avoid - Stephan Bonnar
A UFC Hall of Famer, the 43-year-old switched gears in 2017 entering the world of pro wrestling. Given his recent work, he might not be the greatest fit for the WWE product considering he works a hardcore style.
Perhaps with a little more experience and a style change, he’ll end up on WWE’s radar. For the time being, however, there are several signings that seem to be a little more attractive than Bonnar.
7 Sign - Cain Velasquez
Cain blew fans away with his debut over in AAA Mexico. He was greeted by the fanbase like a hero – it was a wise move to make his debut back at home.
He already has the WWE connection, taking bumps at the WWE PC in the past. WWE should make a move before AEW enters the mix. Lesnar and Velasquez can be a dream feud for WWE fans and especially FOX.
6 Avoid - Jack Swagger
We’re cheating a bit given that Swagger works his MMA skills with Bellator but hey, it’s all relevant, right?
Swagger stated in numerous shoots that he wants to return. He also recently took more than a few shots at Goldberg. It might be wise to enhance his reputation outside of the company a little more before attempting a return to WWE. It might be too soon at this point.
5 Sign - Daniel Cormier
According to Forbes, WWE has serious interest in Daniel Cormier. Some outlets report a possible WWE match between Cormier and Lesnar while the likes of Bleacher Report speculate that Cormier’s trying out for a position at the announcers’ desk.
Either way, Cormier is a big enough name to validate the signing at either of the positions. This can be a huge boost for WWE adding such a credible name.
4 Avoid - Tito Ortiz
Ortiz is yet another UFC legend to express interest in working with WWE. Years ago, this would have been a great idea but at this point, the ship might have sailed.
He might be trying to get on WWE’s radar with a return to the octagon. Believe it or not, he’s set to take on former WWE star Alberto Del Rio, according to ESPN.
3 Sign - Conor McGregor
Love him or hate him, Conor would be the perfect fit. No doubt, WWE will always have an interest. McGregor even teased a possible debut following the WrestleMania 35 main event. Here’s what he had to say via Twitter;
“Congrats to Ireland's Becky Lynch, the WWE’s first Champ Champ. Wow! What a match these ladies put on! Ronda Rousey is something special in that ring, as is Charlotte Flair of the Flair dynasty! Stephanie McMahon, you are right, I could not do what these athletes do. Or could I...”
2 Avoid - CM Punk
It’s not that we wouldn’t want to see CM Punk back with WWE – more that most fans would rather see the former WWE Champion with the rival company, AEW.
He would add more credibility to the new company while really igniting a war between the wrestling brands. In other words, we’d rather see him as a foe than a friend.
1 Sign – Jon Jones
This is the latest situation of a UFC star connected to WWE and in fact, Jones would also embrace the rumors. In an interview with The Sun, WWE Champion Kofi Kingston admitted Jones has a spot with the New Day. He also commented on his WWE potential;
"He's definitely got the height, he's got the skill. From what I see he's got the right attitude. I think a lot of people would love to see Jon Jones in there. "That crossover is always so cool to see, how many people are fans of WWE, to want to come in and play a character or have a match in some shape or form.”
Sources – Talk Sports, Bleacher Report, Forbes, Wrestling Inc & Twitter