As a lifelong fan and practitioner of martial arts, I strongly believe that everyone has an inner fighter's spirit. Now that doesn't mean that you or anyone else should run to Jackson's MMA and start your training. It just means that we all possess a spirit to compete. What makes us different is that some of us have the heart of champions and some of us really should just sit down somewhere before we hurt ourselves.
As a fan of sports and movies, I think there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between Hollywood and what it takes to be a fighter. Here's a look at a list of celebrities from sports and entertainment and their MMA counterparts.
Reaching your career peak at 23 is never a good idea. Megan Fox started her career with smaller and mid-level acting roles before hitting the mainstream in Transformers.
The problem: She's not much of an actress. Once you get past the initial on-screen appeal, there isn't much to see.
"The Outlaw" is one entertaining Brit. It's too bad that he's a one-dimensional fighter. After being dominated by UFC champ Georges St. Pierre, the blueprint was laid. Future opponents saw that Dan Hardy lacked any real threat in the ground game.
Hopefully he will continue to evolve his game in the future.
Steven Strasburg took baseball by storm with a lights-out major league debut for the Washington Nationals in 2010. After several good performances, he suffered a serious setback, losing an entire year to Tommy John surgery. At such an early point in his career, he should bounce back.
Brian Stann battered his way up the middleweight rankings. Considered a potential title contender, his plans were derailed by a lopsided loss to Chael Sonnen. I'm sure with more training, this former Marine will find his way back to the top.
It's not easy being the best for an extended number of years. Derek Jeter has been one of MLB's best players for over a decade. Lately, he's looking less like the perennial All-Star with five Golden Glove awards.
It's probably about time for Jeter to hang up the pinstripes.
In the early 2000s, there was no more dominant fighter at 205 pounds than Wanderlei Silva. His career is decorated with a 16-fight win streak and a five-year run as champion.
Sadly, "The Axe Murderer" has seen better days and is a shell of his former self.
LL Cool J has been entertaining crowds since the '80s. On one hand, he is charismatic and possesses a smile and physique that draws female fans to him. On the other, he's hardened master of hip-hop that will knock you out whenever his mother says so.
Whether it's hardcore rap, softer songs for the ladies or an impressive acting resume, LL Cool J can do it all.
Alistair Overeem began his professional fighting career as a kickboxer in the late '90s. He's won several world titles in kickboxing and MMA and has fought and defeated some of the world's best.
Aside from his freakish size and strength, he shows a confident yet down-to-earth and well-spoken demeanor. Although I must admit, my wife played a huge role in drawing this comparison.
Bruce Willis is the ultimate tough guy. At age 56, he still intimidates bad guys and is still one of Hollywood's biggest draws.
Is there a more battle- and time-tested fighter than Dan Henderson? He's 41, a potential title contender and still putting guys to sleep with his knockout power.
He's a showboat, he's annoying and you can count on a sound bite or elaborate celebration. Terrell Owens is also one of the best players ever and when he plays, you can guarantee that you are getting 100 percent effort. T.O.
There's never been a grey area when it comes to liking Tito Ortiz. His brash persona and collection of T-shirts that mock his opponents would disgust anyone. Regardless, he's one of the UFC's greatest champions and even in the final days of his career, he can still bring the punishment.
A great actor and director who has worked on some of the biggest films of our time. Unfortunately, when he speaks we have to wonder what nonsensical jabber will come out.
Change great actor to great fighter, and the rest remains the same. Really, Chael? Brock got robbed?
Why do NFL fans love Jets coach Rex Ryan? He's bombastic, loud and says exactly what's on his mind. That's what makes him likable. None of that coach-speak garbage—just brutal honesty.
You can count on "The Count" to tell it like it is. Michael Bisping let's opponents know "I don't like you" and "I'm going to beat you up." He's a polarizing figure that backs it up in the cage.
The ultimate question: Is he or isn't he? When "The Sanchise" is on, he's money. When he's bad, Mark Sanchez is really bad.
Two AFC title-game appearances and yet we still can't figure him out.
Forrest catapulted the UFC into the mainstream with a three-round war against Stephen Bonnar. He's been a champion, but how good is Forrest Griffin? Against Bonnar and Rich Franklin, he was dynamic.
However, against Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua he looked as if he was sleepwalking. Will the real Forrest Griffin please stand up?
He's still acting? Yes. His last role, according to IMDB, was in 2008. One of the all-time great actors, he still loves to perform.
At age 53, "The Beast" is still fighting. Dan Severn notched his 100th career win in April, his third of five fights this year. His career record is 100-18-7, unheard of for any fighter of any age.
While still competitive, Severn announced in October that he will retire in 2012.
Tom Brady has won Super Bowls. Tom Brady has endorsements. Tom Brady will beat you at his game and your own.
He's one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and one of the top two in the NFL. Even a devastating knee injury couldn't stop him.
Georges St. Pierre has ruled the welterweight division for years. GSP is one of the first MMA fighters to secure an endorsement deal with a major athletic apparel company (Under Armour). Currently healing from a major knee injury, I have no doubt he will return to championship form.
Amateur video debut? Check. Famous name? Check. Reality show? Check. Complete lack of legitimate talent? Double-check.
Thankfully, she has pretty much gone off into the sunset.
I still haven't figured out how a guy beating up people on YouTube made it to the premier mixed martial arts organization without any legitimate fighting background. Granted, Kimbo Slice was entertaining but we knew this guy wouldn't last.
Hell, even Tank Abbott could wrestle.
Years from now, no one will ever discuss great NFL quarterbacks without mentioning Peyton Manning among the top few. Super Bowl winner, MVP, consistent playoff contender—there's nothing he can't do. The only question now is: How much does he have left?
Former UFC champion Rich Franklin was forced to move up in weight due to Anderson Silva's dominance. "The Spider" has ruled the middleweight division with an iron fist for years. With few challengers left and the big 4-0 fast approaching, when will Silva call it a career?
Mr. T has pitied fools for years. Even now that his most noted years are behind him, he could still go "Baracus" on you if you press him.
As if I would pick anyone else. Not only is Rampage probably the only person who could successfully pull off Mr. T on screen, Rampage just likes to beat people up. He's no longer the champion fighter of a few years ago, but there's something about a guy who wears a dog chain and howls that garners fear in people.
What a coincidence—the world's fastest man is named Bolt. Usain Bolt dominated the 2008 Beijing games and crushes anyone who faces him. The guy is unstoppable and he is still hitting his peak.
Jon Jones is the No. 1 light heavyweight in the world and No. 3 pound-for-pound. He's dominated each of his opponents, the last three being former champions. He's 24!
"Bones" looks unbeatable and we're still waiting for him to reach his prime.
There was a time when Tom Cruise was box-office gold. He was the best in the business and ruled over Hollywood. Fast-forward to recent years and he's been nowhere near the draw he once was, mostly attributed to his stance on Scientology and odd behavior.
Recently, Hollywood has seen a rejuvenated Cruise with box-office hit MI4 and upcoming film Rock of Ages. Could this be a comeback?
"Minotauro" Nogueira ruled the Pride Fighting Championships as one of the world's best fighters. He would later go on to become the only fighter to have held the Pride FC and UFC heavyweight titles. A rash of injuries and wear-and-tear from countless battles seemed to all but end his career.
However, a stunning KO of Brendan Schaub and an impressive showing in a rematch with Frank Mir, albeit in a loss, makes you wonder if Minotauro is on his way back to being a contender.
From the University of New Mexico to the NFL, Brian Urlacher has been a dominant force and used his brute strength and skill to run over anyone in his path. Seriously, would you take on a guy with a neck that size?
Has there ever been a more physically imposing figure in combat sports—real or scripted—than Brock Lesnar? NCAA champion wrestler, WWE champion, UFC champion—all achieved through athleticism, brute force and firepower.
Not a guy you want to face on the street...or in a ring, for that matter.
Her act is tired, her show is tired and you just wish she would shut up and go away.
Again, the act is tired, the show is tired and so on. What was that farce of a performance at The Ultimate Fighter finale?
You don't have to like Kobe Bryant, but you have to respect the resume: world-class talent, championships, Hall of Fame career. He's on the downside of his career and his championship days are behind him, but Kobe can still hang with the best in the world.
Matt Hughes is brash, arrogant and can put some people off. He also is one of the greatest MMA champions of all time. Two title reigns, seven defenses, UFC Hall of Famer—Matt Hughes has nothing left to prove.
Even in the twilight of his career, Hughes can still put on a show.
LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world hands down and has played against the world's best. In spite of his impeccable career thus far, LeBron is mostly known for choking in big games. When the game is on the line, you can be sure that LeBron's talents will not be in attendance that night.
No one in the UFC has proven time and time again that they are worthy of a title shot more than Kenny Florian. "KenFlo" has faced the likes of Sean Sherk, BJ Penn and Jose Aldo. Kenny is a great striker and has great jiu-jitsu, but he has looked mediocre at best in his title fights.
Now at age 35, his window for securing big fights is closing.