Brock Lesnar‘s rise to the UFC crown seemingly validated a powerful notion — that WWE stars could come into MMA and dominate. As Bobby Lashley proved in Saturday’s Strikeforce match, Lesnar is far more the exception than the rule.
Like Lesnar, Lashley was a WWE champion and former collegiate wrestling champion, but that’s not the entire story. Lesnar’s wrestling championship was at the NCAA level, while Lashley won at the NAIA level. Physically, Lesnar is the bigger, more imposing figure. When you look at Lashley, you see a body builder. On the contrary, when you look at Lesnar, you see a monster. While Lashley’s demeanor appears to be that of an entertainer, Lesnar seems to have the psyche of a pure fighter.
The differences may have been subtle, but they are great enough that one shouldn’t have expected Lashleys’ career to go the identical route.
Lashley lost on Saturday to relative-unknown Chad Griggs. He seemed one dimensional — attempting takedown after takedown, and he was drastically over-matched in the striking department. His endurance was also not up to par.
Should any of that really surprise you, given that he is an ex-WWE star with a wrestling background? Probably not.
To be fair, Lesnar’s ascendancy wasn’t without flaws either. He often looked out of his element, and he lost his second ever match via submission to Frank Mir in just 90 seconds. He arguably even got lucky in his most recent win over Shane Carwin.
Still, Lesnar came to MMA withe the proper mentality, physicality and experience. Lashley may follow suit, but he definitely did not have the same advantages.
Another former WWE champ, David Bautista Jr., is also looking to compete in Strikeforce, and he has no actual experience in any sort of competitive fighting. His pre-WWE career was principally one of crime.
Lesnar may have set a precedent for WWE crossover, but WWE stars — and their fans — should be wary of such a move. MMA is a lot harder than it looks.
Just ask Bobby Lashley.
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