Kurt Angle is playing the role of mixed martial arts villain "Koba" in the latest MMA movie "Warrior" that was released this past Friday. On the press promotional tour he has made claims in the media that he seriously considered moving to a career in the cage.
Claims such as this often make me laugh a little as a lot of crossover stars say things without really knowing what it would take to get there. Actors and Rock Stars like to act like tough guys and often let their mouths run sprints without having a track to run on.
Kurt Angle is the other side of the coin. He actually has a bit of "street cred" when it comes to making these claims, as he is an Olympic wrestling champion.
With "Warrior" getting positive reviews and support in the mainstream world, mixed martial arts has intrigued a very valuable crossover audience.
Who else in the sports and entertainment world would actually have a chance in the octagon? There are very few who could fit the criteria, but here are some plausible crossover stars who might not get killed in the octagon.
Here are 20 UFC Fighters That Never Were.
Karl "The Mailman" Malone played a rough-and-tumble game in the NBA during his 19 seasons in the league. He was a feared competitor in the paint throughout his career with a chiseled physique and killer elbows.
After his basketball career, he had a brief stint with his second love in sports, pro wrestling, and in 1998 he teamed up with personal friend "Diamond" Dallas Page to headline the "Bash at The Beach" pay-per-view. He and Page took on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan.
Not only was Malone a formidable athlete, he was a very colorful character and was always a good quote, something that is also important for UFC success.
At 6'9 and 264 pounds of muscle, Malone would have been a heavyweight.
Sean Avery is a hated professional hockey player who would draw large numbers for people wanting to see him get his face punched in. He has a look that you just want to adjust and a mouth that you want to lay leather on, but he is also a deceivingly tough customer.
Hyping fights would be natural for him and at an NHL weight of 195 pounds, I would think that he would cut down to 185 and compete in the middleweight division.
Anderson Silva vs. Sean Avery anyone? There would be no "sloppy seconds" if "The Spider" got a hold of him. One can dream.
I know there is no biting in MMA, but "the Prince of Darkness" is notorious for having a screw loose.
You need a certain fearlessness and mentality to be a mixed martial artist and Ozzy's reputation speaks for itself.
Osbourne is 5'9 and weighs around 160 pounds and would probably settle in the lightweight division.
Despite the fact that many rock stars like to trash inanimate things and spout out toughness at every turn, Ozzy is the only rock star on this list
Based on his tendency to bite things, I would watch out for groin shots and knees to the head while down against this guy. He would also give Clay Guida a run for craziest hair in MMA.
The old Pride FC may be a better fit for this overpaid, underachieving NFL bad boy, as he has already mastered the skill of the foot stomp.
He has had arrest warrants out on him for traffic violations and he also had a separate traffic incident where he punched a civilian.
At 6'6 and 335 pounds, Haynesworth would be in with the big boys in the UFC and I would love to see him try his luck at taking a swipe at any of the guys in that division.
I'm sure his cardio would be an issue unless the UFC changed their rounds to 100 five-second spurts.
James Coburn was notorious for being one of the toughest actors in Hollywood during his 45-year career. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 72 years old.
He played real tough guy roles on the screen but he was also a famous student and friend of Bruce Lee's during the 1960s and was a pall bearer at his funeral in 1973.
Coburn was 6'2 and 200 pounds in his prime, and would not have backed down from any challenge in the cage.
Bill Romanowski will go down as one of the top-five dirtiest players in the NFL when all is said and done, and this one has a personal touch to it.
I used to fume watching Romanowski's brutal antics on the field, and constantly wished he would step in the cage with a Ken Shamrock or a Randy Couture to see just how big a bully he really wanted to be in his prime.
He was involved in numerous altercations in his career both with opponents and even his teammates and he literally retired teammate Marcus Williams in a training camp altercation by busting his eye socket with a punch.
With Romanowski at 6'4 and 245 pounds, Couture would have been a perfect adjuster for his antics.
Russell Crowe has always needed several outlets for his anger. His bad boy temper has reared its head many times in his career and in 2005 was arrested for assault in New York City.
At the height of his stardom, he was allegedly a target for an Al-Qaida destabilization murder plot, and it doesn't get much more bad ass than that.
He has also enjoyed playing fighters and warriors in his movies, Crowe is one star that may be able to back up his tough guy image.
He was the model for the UFC pay-per-view opening, and who wouldn't want a victory over Maximus Decimus Meridius?
At 5'10 and 180 pounds, Crowe could shift between welterweight and middleweight.
When the UFC looked back at the first event they held back in 1993, one assessment was crystal clear and that was that the refereeing was sub-par and they needed to bring in someone with more knowledge of the submission and overall game.
Enter Big John McCarthy who was hand picked to referee UFC 2 based on his 6'4" and 245-pound stature, his knowledge of jiu-jitsu and his authority as a cop.
He added to that persona with his famous "Let's Get It On" opening statement for each fight he was involved in. Later, McCarthy got a bit too big for his head in my opinion and it made me want to see him in real action.
Jim Brown was a successful NFL football player and actor, but it is his other post sports exploits that qualifies him for this list.
Brown's athleticism, star power and reputation for no-nonsense intimidation made him a prime candidate to try his hand in the cage.
He was also a very important figure for the early UFC as he was a commentator for the first six pay-per-views and was the first real mainstream sports figure to support the sport.
In his prime he stood 6'2 and 232 pounds, and would be a formidable foe for anyone in the Octagon.
Jason Statham kicks ass in his movies and he is a wild supporter of mixed martial arts and the UFC. he has rubbed shoulders with some of the best martial arts actors in the business and some of that must have rubbed off on him.
He performs his own action scenes and stunts so toughness and skill are not an issue with him. he has studied Wing Chun kung fu, karate and kickboxing in his life and aside from other tough guy stars, he is humble does not kid himself about the skill needed to compete in the sport.
He was in "The Expendables" with UFC legend turned actor Randy Couture, and with his look aside from his smaller stature, would be a natural to portray him in a life-based movie.
Dolph "Drago" Lundgren is an actor and a real martial artist. He holds a 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin Karate and was a European champion in the early 1980s.
He broke it big with his role in "Rocky IV" and followed up as a the star in many martial arts B-movies in the 90's and beyond.
He is 6'5 and 245 pounds, and is notorious for his sick cardio and conditioning even to this day. He actually took on UFC veteran Oleg Taktarov in a celebrity boxing match in 2007.
He would have killed Stallone in a real fight.
Can you imagine if Mike Tyson knew wrestling and jiu-jitsu? I suppose you could say that about many top level boxers but "Iron Mike" is in a class all his own.
His aggressive style, displayed mostly in the early stages of his career, would be incredibly pleasing to UFC fans. If you want a glimpse of how Tyson would do as is in his skill set, look no further than Paul "Semtex" Daley, the similarities are uncanny.
Tyson is a smaller heavyweight, with a slight reach, but his power and intimidation would pose big problems for many in his division. He would probably fight at light heavy.
Like Ozzy Osbourne, Mike would not be allowed to use his chewing skills in battle, but if he had a ground game, he would be able to make a living in the UFC.
"The Rock" is another one of those wrestlers who might have had the ability, knowledge and patience to compete in the UFC.
He started out in football and then went to professional wrestling in the WWE. In a display of versatility, he went to the top of the game quickly in wrestling.
He has recently turned to acting in movies and he has been very successful there as well. Johnson seems to be able to excel at whatever he puts the time to and MMA would be no different.
I'd love to see Brock Lesnar against Johnson in a real scrap.
You take one glimpse at the life of now actor Chuck Zito, and it is plain to see that he was made to fight. His street fighting prowess and martial arts training were a feared combo in his exploits as a bouncer, bodyguard, stuntman and also president of the New York chapter of the Hell's Angels.
He became somewhat of a bodyguard to the stars in his prime and made many contacts in the entertainment world for a seamless shift into acting.
Zito has been seen at many UFC events and, at 5'10 and 211 pounds, he would cut slightly and settle nicely in the light heavyweight division.
Bob Probert is the toughest heavyweight enforcer the NHL has ever seen. Not only was he big and tough, he studied all hockey fights and was dedicated to perfecting his art.
He was also notorious for having off the wall stamina in a fight and would often let other guys punch themselves out and tire before laying the beat down on them in the end.
He was fearless and reckless and hockey players are fighter tough. He would be a natural fit to cross over to the cage.
At 6'3 and 225 pounds, he would be a formidable two division fighter. RIP Probie.
"The Undertaker" Mark Callaway stands 6'11" tall and weighs in at a straight 300 pounds. Like fellow WWE star turned MMA fighter Brock Lesnar, he is extremely agile and swift on his feet for a big man.
He has admitted numerous times that he is an avid mixed martial arts fan and recently told Ariel Helwani that he would have loved to compete in the octagon if he had started training a little bit earlier in his life.
He would be an extremely formidable opponent and no gimmick, and he uses some submission and MMA moves in his wrestling game.
Whatever Brock Lesnar can do Callaway can do. His talent speaks for itself.
Jet Li is only 5'6" and 145 pounds but with the new lighter divisions in the UFC now, it would be great to see how this Wushu fighter would fare in true combat.
It is another example of a martial artist needing to go to school on the ground to compete as any fighter with jiu-jitsu skill would probably be able t take the action star.
Li's skill and ability were far ahead of his peers as he first won the Wushu championships at the age of 12 when the silver and bronze medallists were in their 20s.
I know I would be excited for a Jet Li vs. Jose Aldo match.
Michael Jai White is another action star actor who is also a real martial artist. White holds a black belt in seven different forms of martial arts including Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Kobudo, Goju Ryu, Tang Soo Do, Wushu and Kyokushin.
Once again, the problem is do any of those mentioned above teach ground fighting? my answer is very little but with that type of background I'm sure White could and would learn in a flash if he trained.
He stands at 6'0" and 220 pounds of ripped muscle and is another man who would want to trim and compete in the light heavyweight division.
Rampage vs White would be a great match to see.
Kurt Angle is an incredibly decorated athlete who is now riding a slight bit of MMA cred with his role in the excellent new film "Warrior."
He has stated that he was really close to jumping from professional wrestling to MMA and the UFC was interested in him doing so although president Dana White has denied any negotiations or interest in Angle.
Angle is 6'0" and 240 pounds, and he would be the opposite of most on this list. He has top-level wrestling and would need to add submissions and striking to his game.
Angle is the guy on this list that I wanted to see in the UFC and I also think he would have had the most success.
At a formidable 7'1" and 323 pounds, Shaquille tops The Undertaker as the biggest man on this list. He has professed his love for MMA for a long time and he attends UFC shows all the time.
It is even said that Shaq started training mixed martial arts in 2000 with boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. What else could "Superman" possibly need?
He has targeted Hong Man Choi as his first foe, and he openly challenged the giant Korean to a fight in a You Tube video in 2009 and then issued the challenge again at UFC 118 in 2010.
I'm not sure who holds the current nickname title, but Shaq could definitely challenge for the most nicknames and longest introduction in UFC history.