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How Dwayne Johnson Almost Became an MMA Fighter in PRIDE


Dwayne Johnson, also known as “The Rock”, is one of the most successful and popular professional wrestlers of all time. He is also a close ally of the UFC, the leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world. However, not many MMA fans know that his wrestling career was not always smooth and that he once considered switching to MMA and fighting in PRIDE, the UFC’s main rival in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


In a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, a popular podcast hosted by comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Dwayne Johnson revealed his MMA past and how he almost joined PRIDE, a Japanese fighting promotion that paid its fighters very well compared to other companies at the time. He said that he was unhappy with his WWE situation in 1997, when he was booed by the fans and told to smile by the company. He felt that he could not be himself and that he was not going to make it in WWE.


He said that he started talking to Ken Shamrock and Mark Kerr, two MMA legends who fought in PRIDE, about the possibility of fighting in Japan. He said that he had an idea in his head that he could train in MMA, go to PRIDE, and make real money without having to smile. He said that he was aware of the risks and the challenges, but he was willing to try.


He said that he even discussed this idea with his wife at the time, who supported him.

However, he did not make the jump to PRIDE, as his WWE career eventually took off and he became one of the biggest stars in the history of the company. He said that he was grateful for his wrestling success and that he still loves MMA and works with the UFC. Last year, his Project Rock shoe brand became a sponsor of the UFC and he presented the BMF belt to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244.


Dwayne Johnson’s MMA story is fascinating and shows how different his life could have been if he had chosen a different path. He is one of the few wrestlers who could have potentially made a successful transition to MMA, given his athletic ability, charisma, and work ethic. However, he is also one of the best wrestlers ever and his fans are glad that he stayed in WWE and entertained them for years.

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