You don't have to love #professionalwrestling to love professional wrestling showmanship. Many of the greatest fighters in history attribute some of their microphone skills to professional wrestlers.
Take #MuhammadAli, for example.
Yes, The Greatest learned from pro wrestler Gorgeous George.
Some of the most successful MMA fighters have learned to incorporate pro wrestling-like showmanship and attitude into their MMA persona. Whether it's MMA fighting or professional wrestling -- trash talk, fight promotion and showmanship sells.
There's a direct link between the popularity of some MMA fighters today and their ability to talk on the microphone like professional wrestlers. Let's take a look at 10 MMA fighters who could possibly headline Wrestlemania if they decided to jump ship to the squared circle.
10. Mickey Gall
He's already defeated one professional wrestler. Why stop there? Mickey Gall has emerged as one of the most entertaining MMA fighters in the world, for one simple reason: He's confident and has a clear message. After defeating CM Punk he called out Sage Northcutt. After defeating Northcutt, he called out Dan Hardy. Every great professional wrestler knows that you must always be building up to the next big match. Gall gets that. And he comes to the ring with the theme song of "Mickey"? This guy is a born professional wrestler.
9. Luke Rockhold
Tell me Vince McMahon wouldn't give this guy a main event push? Rockhold has movie star good looks -- and he's big, 6' 3" tall. Come on, he'd be the next Roman Reigns. Rockhold is not good on the microphone, but he has a natural arrogance about him that would drive the fans nuts. He's The Miz, but bigger and more athletic. There would not be a male in the audience who wouldn't be rooting for Rockhold to go down. And it doesn't matter why people pay to see you, as long as they pay to see you. He also gets bonus points for having a built-in clique behind him, in Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez.
8. Michael Bisping
Bisping trashes talk as well as anyone in the company. Whether he's insulting Dan Henderson, Luke Rockhold or CM Punk, Bisping is beaming with the kind of confidence that sells PPVs. Unlike Rockhold, he's also easy to root for. Bisping has an every man sort of demeanor. He's not the biggest, strongest or most skilled fighter in the UFC, but he is savvy, smart and full of heart.
"I'm an average guy. More than average. This was my dream. No one was taking it away from me," Bisping said after he knocked out Rockhold to win the middleweight championship.
Bisping would be a natural for the WWE's United Kingdom championship.
7. Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson
OK, he's not a great talker, but there's a lot more to professional wrestling than being good on the stick. Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette are great talkers, but won't ever headline Wrestlemania. Johnson is the kind of guy who could breathe new life into the WWE's cruiserweight division. He's definitely a high-flyer and we could totally see him doing a moonsault of the top rope onto The Brian Kendrick. Johnson is so naturally athletic that there's not doubt he could learn the WWE style really quickly. As long as Vince McMahon doesn't put Johnson in a cape and mouse ears, he would do great in the WWE.
6. Chael Sonnen
Sonnen practically already is a professional wrestler. Everything he does on the microphone he has ripped off from some wrestler, whether it's Superstar Billy Graham, Scott Hall or Ric Flair. Sonnen has incredible charisma. He rose to national stardom in the UFC in the buildup to his fight with the great Anderson Silva, insulting him left and right. Sonnen has a way of making totally unbelievable statements sound believable. Couple with his amateur wrestling background, Sonnen is sort of like the perfect package for professional wrestling. It's sort of amazing that the WWE hasn't figured out a way to sign him for an appearance or a match yet.
5. Nick & Nate Diaz
We'll put them as a tag team because they undoubtedly go together. You think the New Day gets heat as cocky tag team? Wait until the Diaz brothers get on Monday Night Raw. Don't even try to script their promos; the Diaz brothers are shooters, and they would come out strong against anybody and everybody. Book the Diaz brothers against Cesaro & Sheamus and watch them shine. In addition to their incredible, unique microphone skills, Nick and Nate are great athletes. There's no doubt that they could pick up the professional style. There won't be an "Nate is sleeping" chants. The UFC hasn't really tapped into the Diaz brothers' marketing abilities. Nick Diaz could end every promo with "Don't be scared, homie!" and Nate Diaz could end every promo with "I am not surprised, motherf---ers." And the Stockton Slap? Come on! You know The Miz would be the first recipient.
4. Cris Cyborg
If there ever were a face of female professional wrestling it would be Cris "Cyborg" Justino. She's muscular and intimidating. I can't imagine Stephanie McMahon hurling a big slap at the face of Cyborg. There's no way. Cyborg would bring an air of believability to the women's division. I can see it now, the night after Wrestlemania, after Charlotte disposes of Bayley, The Queen announces that there is no one on the planet who can defeat her. Out comes the woman who retired Gina Carano. Truth be told, Cyborg is an amazing athlete, and booked correctly, she could have a good run on top.
3. Jon Jones
He's probably the greatest mixed martial artist in the world. He will need to move up to the heavyweight division and win that title to cement that legacy. And he probably could defeat any heavyweight in the world. So there's no reason why he could not enjoy a successful career in the WWE. He's athletic. He's big. He a great, natural talker. He doesn't have to scream to get people to care. Jones in MMA has already showed a range of emotions, from the good guy to the bad guy. Can Jones work a wrestling match? At least as well as Dennis Rodman, Steve McMichael and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Heck, with that beard, he could be the long lost member of the Wyatt Family.
2. Conor McGregor
Well, this goes without saying. McGregor, better than anyone in MMA history, has mastered the art of trash talking. He's part Ric Flair, part Stone Cold Steve Austin and total showman. He has become the biggest star in the history of MMA because he knows how to sell fights. McGregor occasionally picks up a steel chair, throws a water bottle and almost always is ready to get into people's faces. If McGregor can predict the endings of his facts and walk with intense swagger, when he doesn't know the outcome of the match going in, can you imagine how much of a badass he would be in the WWE? It's almost a certaint that McGregor is headed for the WWE at some point, and I bet he could actually fight and wrestle.
1. Ronda Rousey
Rousey already proved to the world that she is a perfect fit for the WWE. She's beautiful. She's sassy. She's a real athlete. And she can talk. The chemistry she had in the ring at Wrestlemania with Stephanie McMahon was palpable. here's the other thing about Rousey: She loves the WWE. She's a legitimate professional wrestling fan. She doesn't disrespect the sport like McGregor does. Rousey's passion could make her one of the best professional wrestlers of all-time. We've seen Brock Lesnar become a UFC and WWE champion. It's time for Rousey to do the same.