UFC and WWE may live in the same house now under TKO Group Holdings, but for all of the similarities that MMA and professional wrestling share, there are still vast differences between the sport and sports entertainment.
That’s according to current WWE champion Seth Rollins, who addressed the possibility that any UFC fighter could cross over and find success in the squared circle. As much as he respects the fighters competing in the UFC, Rollins feels like the arduous schedule required to perform in WWE would just be too much to handle.
As an example, Rollins invoked former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, who transitioned to WWE after her fighting career was over, however didn’t work a full-time schedule filled with televised events, premium cards like WrestleMania, and weekly “house shows” where the promotion holds untelevised matches for local live crowds.
“I don’t want to knock Ronda Rousey because I love Ronda,” Rollins told ESPN. “She did a lot for our industry, for women in our industry and the fight industry in general, but it was tough for Ronda. She tried her damnedest and it was hard for her.
“But I don’t know, I’d love for somebody to come over and take a crack if you think you can hang. But it’s hard.”
Unlike many professional sports, there is no offseason for UFC fighters, so most train year-round but typically only set foot in the octagon two to three times per year.
Rollins understands MMA isn’t easy, but he still argues it’s a different animal to put the kind of physical toll on your body that WWE requires for performers working a full-time schedule.
“They don’t have the stamina for it,” Rollins said. “They don’t fight every single weekend. This championship goes everywhere. It goes everywhere. It goes to like Biloxi, [Miss.]. And especially the top stars over there, they’re catered to a certain way, and that’s great. That’s their style. That’s what works for them. You fight maybe once, twice a year. You’re crazy, you’re fighting three times a year.
“But to fight over 100 times a year, make all those towns, still be able to train, still be able to do all the media, it’s an exhausting industry.
Now to be fair, Rollins certainly doesn’t expect that he would find much success if he suddenly decided he wanted to become a fighter.
Rollins admires what UFC fighters do for a living but that doesn’t mean they are cut out for professional wrestling, although he certainly invites them to try.
“I call them all out. I don’t care. Try it out,” Rollins said. “I can’t do what they do. I’d go in there and get knocked out and choked out in two seconds. I’d probably do better than [CM] Punk, but I still would lose most likely.
“They can’t come and do what we do either. They’re the same umbrella but two totally different worlds.”