It's been A LONG time in the making ... but former WWE heavyweight champion Batista has FINALLY booked his first real deal MMA fight ... TMZ has learned...
We're told Batista -- 6'6" and 290 lbs -- will square up against some dude named Rashid Evans ... not to be confused with UFC hurt-maker Rashad Evans.
Interesting news for Big Dave, who is now 43 years old, to start his MMA career at this point (by the way, that picture of him is hilarious). He's getting up there in years, no doubt, but Batista was always one of those guys who seemed like he really was a tough you-know-what.
There have been a number of pro wrestlers who gave gone the way of MMA and UFC; in recent years, Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley are two of the most prominent ones. Lesnar, of course, was a dominant performer and a champion, while Lashley petered out pretty quickly.
Lesnar, despite a dominant run, has since returned to WWE (though he hasn't appeared on TV in quite a while). Lashley is supposedly looking to return to wrestling, though he left both WWE and TNA on somewhat acrimonious terms; WWE, though, might consider giving him another shot due to what was rumored to be a racially inhospitable climate at the hands of Michael Hayes.
My question is this, though: is Batista doing this because he really wants to be an MMA fighter? Or do you think this is a ploy to come back to WWE? Remember, Batista was a big success in WWE, and he is a little old to be starting off his MMA career.
Is this, maybe, a way for Batista to leverage WWE into a new deal and not to lose the opportunity to bring him back? It has been rumored Batista might want to come back to WWE, though he has been highly critical of the company in recent years.