Despite having created global stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Hulk Hogan, professional wrestling often gets a bad rep. Its storylines are criticised for being silly and over the top and worse than many trashy TV soap operas. Even its athletes receive a lot of stick, their work viewed as play acting when compared to real combat sports. While it is true that the storylines are frequently bad – for instance, Nikki Bella wishing her twin sister Brie Bella had “died in the womb” was not only crass but unbelievable given their off-screen closeness – the WWE’s wrestlers deserve more credit for their athletic prowess. They work a punishing schedule and there is probably not a single wrestler who hasn’t sustained physical injury as a result of their profession. Not to mention, a number of WWE superstars have taken part in proper combat sports too, like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and can claim legitimate prizefighting experience – often winning championships, too. To prove it, here are five of the most famous stars to crossover between WWE and UFC. Is Bruce Lee really the ‘father of mixed martial arts’? Ronda Rousey View this post on Instagram Queen of UFC️ • • • Реклама : сторис 50 грн лента 70 грн #rondarousey#mmafighter#mmatraining#ufc#rowdy#королеваufc#beautiful#queenronda#rock#russia#theman#mmafighter#embermoon#армбар#боибезправил#рондароузи#ронда#роузи#реслинг#данауайт A post shared by ☁Ronnie Rousey☁ (@ronda.best.rousey) on Jul 4, 2020 at 1:17am PDT A history-making martial artist, Ronda Rousey is arguably the biggest star to have worked in both the UFC and WWE. Rousey’s accomplishments date back to 2008 when she became the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo, winning bronze in Beijing. When she switched to MMA, the Californian ascended to the top of Strikeforce women’s bantamweight division, becoming its final champion before the company was acquired by UFC. Why did WWE star ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey swap fame for life on a farm? She then starred in UFC’s first women’s bout, becoming the company’s bantamweight champion by winning, and would set a record by successfully defending her title six times. She switched to WWE in 2018 following defeats to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, and was positioned as WWE’s top female star during her time with the company. Brock Lesnar View this post on Instagram "I don't feel pain" - Brock Lesnar #brocklesnar #wwe #ufc #best #beast #motivation #athlete #hot #respect #believe #suplexcity #follow A post shared by Brock Lesnar Country (@brocklesnarcountry) on Apr 27, 2019 at 8:20am PDT A former amateur wrestling champion, Lesnar has switched back and forth between WWE and UFC. At college, Lesnar was among the very best. The 1998 NJCAA heavyweight champion, he finished his amateur career with a hugely impressive win/loss record of 106–5 in four years of competition at university. He was picked up by the WWE after graduation and positioned at the top of the card, eventually defeating Dwayne Johnson for the championship in 2002, making him, at the time, the youngest man to have ever won the WWE’s top title. Lesnar joined UFC six years later, making his in-ring debut at UFC 81. It was an inauspicious start – he was defeated by former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir. However, learning from that lesson, Lesnar fought his way to the top of the heavyweight division. At UFC 91 he beat heavyweight champion Randy Couture via a technical knockout. After defending the title twice, Lesnar lost two bouts in succession. He subsequently announced his retirement from MMA in 2011 citing difficulties with diverticulitis. Most moving UFC post-fight speeches – from Zhang Weili’s to Conor McGregor’s Lesnar returned to the WWE the following year and has only returned to the octagon for a special one-off bout against Mark Hunt in 2016. CM Punk View this post on Instagram CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson - #UFC225 photos! A post shared by CM Punk (@cm.punk) on Jun 10, 2018 at 3:00pm PDT One WWE star who failed to successfully crossover to MMA is CM Punk. A proud son of Chicago, Punk got into the wrestling industry in the late 90s, during the “Monday Night Wars” boom period that made icons of Dwayne Johnson and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. After working small independent wrestling shows for many years, Punk accepted a contract with the WWE in 2005. Punk enjoyed tremendous success there and became one of the company’s top performers, headlining many events and enjoying a long run as one of the WWE’s main champions. Who is Malaysia’s Nor Diana, the first hijab-wearing wrestling champion? Eventually, however, the WWE’s gruelling touring schedule took its toll and Punk left, citing burn out, lingering injuries and frustration with the company as the among the main reasons for his decision. At UFC 181 Punk announced to significant fanfare that he had signed a contract with the company. The shift to MMA wasn’t a success. After two disappointing losses to barely credible opponents, UFC president Dana White suggested Punk “call it a wrap” and ruled out using the fighter in the future. Dan Severn View this post on Instagram Who Remembers Dan Severn? #ufc#dansevern#donfrye#kenshamrock @kenshamrockofficial #ufcufc211#ufcuncensored#danawhite#nate#conormcgregor#jonjones#mma#meme#memes#mmameses#repost#legend @diazbrotherz209 @kingofthecage @portaldaluta @as_shopped_as_it_gets_ #mmafighter #japan A post shared by MMA Uncensored ™️ (@mmauncensored__) on May 13, 2017 at 8:02am PDT The earliest big name to crossover from UFC to WWE was Dan Severn. Nicknamed “The Beast”, Severn was a pioneer during the early days of UFC. He made his debut at UFC 4 and quickly rose to prominence based on his tremendous amateur wrestling skills that had seem him win numerous awards and tournaments – UFC announcers would often claim he had 100 titles to his name. Winner of the UFC Superfight Championship and the Ultimate Ultimate 95 tournament, by the time he retired Severn had more than 100 MMA victories to his name across a range of promotions. He moved into professional wrestling in 1995 and when Severn won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship that year he made history by becoming the first and only person to ever hold an MMA and a professional wrestling championship at the same time. Severn eventually began competing for the WWE in 1998 but the relationship only lasted a year before creative differences meant the two parted ways. According to Severn, the WWE wanted him to tattoo 666 on his forehead, which he refused to do and prompted him to ask for his release from the company. Ken Shamrock View this post on Instagram #KenShamrock #WWF #ThrowbackThursday #AttitudeEra #TheWorldsMostDangerousMan A post shared by Ken Shamrock (@kenshamrockofficial) on Jan 24, 2019 at 9:08am PST One rival of Severn’s who enjoyed greater success in the WWE was Ken Shamrock. Another UFC trailblazer, Shamrock was on the card at UFC 1 and he defeated Severn at UFC 6 to win the UFC Superfight Championship. That was just one of many titles Shamrock earned during his career in mixed martial arts. Such was his combat prowess he was given the moniker “the world’s most dangerous man” by ABC News. 3 stars who made the jump from fighting to acting Shamrock switched to the WWE in 1997, wishing to avoid the kind of injuries that saw him break his hand twice in UFC, and also to earn more money (at the time, the UFC was being removed from a number of pay-per-view channels, affecting its income). Shamrock was immediately promoted as one of the most lethal competitors in the WWE, winning a number of significant matches and being involved in some of the company’s top storylines. After a fairly successful two years, Shamrock decided he wished to return to MMA and quit the WWE. However, Shamrock was not the same fighter as he had been in his prime, and his latter career saw him win only five of 17 fights during his second stint in MMA. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .