There aren’t many other sports that can claim to have as many athletes that have tested out multiple sports more so than the UFC. There have been a number of fighters throughout the history of UFC that have dabbled in other sports before carving out a career in the octagon.
Some of the stars that have moved to the UFC have enjoyed excellent careers in the MMA world, while others haven’t achieved anything. But, which fighters started their sporting careers in other sports before landing in the octagon?
Greg Hardy began his sporting career in the NFL as he was drafted in round six in 2010. During his career playing American Football, he played for the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys. Hardy played 75 times in the NFL and was a renowned defensive end. If you are familiar on how NFL odds work, you are probably familiar with his name.
His performances on the picture saw him named in the Pro Bowl in 2013, and he was also selected in the All-SEC first team in 2007. However, in 2016 he revealed that he would be having a change in career as he started in the world of MMA.
Within two years he was signed by the UFC, and he fought against former NFL star Austen Lane in Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Hardy won by KO in that fight. Hardy has naturally fitted into the world of MMA and has won six of his eight fights in UFC. The most recent of those came in May as he beat Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision.
Transitioning from boxing to the UFC is much more simple than transitioning from other sports. However, that hasn’t taken away just how dominant Holly Holm has been in the octagon. She began her career as a professional boxer and enjoyed huge success.
He won 33 of her 38 fights in the ring, with the last of those coming against Anne Sophie Mathis. She quickly avenged that defeat by beating Mathis in a rematch less than six months later. Holm’s last boxing bout came in 2013 as he beat Mary McGee by unanimous decision.
It speaks volumes of the superhuman athlete that Holm is that her first three MMA fights came during her professional boxing career as she beat Christina Domke, Jan Finney and Katie Merrill. Holm made her UFC debut against Raquel Pennington as she won by split decision. Her stock rose to astronomical levels at UFC 193 when she viciously knocked out Ronda Rousey to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. However, since that victory over Rousey, she has lost five of her previous eight fights. Holm returned to winning ways in her last fight in January as she beat Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision.
When it comes to superhuman athletes, there aren’t many more special than Brock Lesnar. Lesnar started his sporting career wrestling at the University of Minnesota. He achieved success almost immediately as he won the NCAA Heavyweight Championship in 2000 and was twice an All-American. After that, he joined the WWE and enjoyed a stellar two-year stay with the company.
Lesnar left the WWE as he didn’t enjoy the travelling. He quickly set himself a new goal of playing in the NFL. Remarkably, he almost made the Minnesota Vikings squad for the season but was cut at the final stage.
Then, in 2007 he shocked the world by moving into MMA. Lesnar was able to take the UFC to new heights as he brought a mainstream appeal to the company. Lesnar was frightening in the octagon and won the UFC Heavyweight Championship before returning to the WWE in 2012.