MMA Fantasy: What if Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson had entered the UFC in his prime?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is one of the most successful actors in the world. He is also a legendary WWE Superstar, having won the WWE Championship multiple times. While he is well-known for his professional wrestling and acting exploits, ‘The Rock’ has also developed an interest in MMA.

In fact, he is currently training for an upcoming film called ‘The Smashing Machine’, which will revolve around heavyweight MMA pioneer Mark Kerr. Due to his imposing physique, Johnson will play Kerr in the film and has posted snippets of his sparring footage online.

This begs the question: how well would he have done had he never pursued professional wrestling? Would he have found success or been one of many fighters to have fallen into obscurity?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s athletic background

The unfortunate truth is that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson doesn’t have much of a traditional martial arts background to speak of. He was, however, an athlete as a child. He played American football in high school and college, as well as taking part in track and field.

Johnson also reportedly wrestled during his Freedom High School years. Furthermore, he had a history of getting into fights as a teenager, which led to brushes with the law. So, ‘The Rock’ was no stranger to fighting and had some amateur wrestling experience.

He was also athletic enough to find massive success as a professional wrestler, which was a highly choreographed, scripted performance with elements of amateur wrestling and general fighting. So, would Johnson, with some street fighting and amateur wrestling experience, do well in MMA?

Check out Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s MMA training clip:

It is also worth noting that Johnson is often billed as being 6 feet 5 inches tall, but some sources claim he is 6 feet 2 inches tall due to WWE’s known tactic of embellishing their wrestlers’ physical dimensions. The earliest Johnson would have joined the UFC would have been in the mid-90s.

By then, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was known, courtesy of Royce Gracie’s prior dominance in MMA. Wrestling started becoming more dominant as highly physical wrestlers like Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Kevin Randleman, and Mark Coleman became household names for the next few years.

While it is possible that ‘The Rock’ would have found some success, it isn’t clear that he had enough wrestling experience to take advantage of the MMA meta of the time.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson previously claimed that he considered an MMA career

On a past episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson claimed that he almost pursued MMA over a continued career in pro-wrestling, as he was dissatisfied with the negative reactions he was getting from fans. He specifically set his sights on PRIDE in 1997.

“I started talking to Ken Shamrock at that time, who’s wrestling with us. I run into Mark Kerr, I start talking to him, ‘Hey, tell me a little bit about PRIDE.’ And I have this idea in my head, ‘Maybe I should train to MMA’.”

Check out Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson talk about a possible MMA career:


However, ‘The Rock’s’ timing of the events is confusing, as neither Mark Kerr nor Ken Shamrock were PRIDE fighters until 2000 and 1998, respectively.

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