Ken Shamrock is a former WWE Intercontinental champion and a former UFC champion, so he can relate to superstars like Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. Shamrock spoke to the Primo Nutmeg podcast about what he thinks about how they fared making the transition from professional wrestling into Mixed Martial Arts.
After losing by submission in his first UFC fight, Lesnar bounced back in a big way and became the UFC heavyweight champion. A bacterial infection plagued him throughout his career and he eventually was forced to retire. He made a return last summer at UFC 200 and defeated Mark Hunt, but the fight was ruled a no-contest after Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance. With Lesnar now being the WWE Universal Champion, Shamrock was asked if he thinks "The Beast" should make a return to the UFC.
"Well I think that's up to him," Shamrock said. "Only he knows where he's at, where his body's at to be able to compete, so each individual really only knows what they're capable of doing or what they're desire is."
CM Punk's transition into MMA wasn't as seamless, as it took him years to debut in the UFC and then lost his first fight via first-round submission to Mickey Gall. Shamrock said he doesn't know if Punk should return to the WWE, but he knows that if he were in Punk's shoes he would've been even more motivated to stay in the UFC.
"He's already started that journey, and if he's like me, if that would've happened to me then I would go back to the drawing board and get better," Shamrock said. "I mean I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gonna quit on it, I'm gonna keep coming and I'll figure it out. But I don't know if he's that way, I don't know if he has that desire."
Punk has been ridiculed for how he lost his first fight, with the WWE even spoofing his loss multiple times. Shamrock said he respects Punk for taking the chance to fight in the UFC even though he's never had an MMA fight in his life. He chastised the people who looked down on Punk just because he lost.
"When he first went into it I warned people, I said, 'Listen, this guys is taking a risk. Respect that risk. Don't bash him if he goes out there and loses because all these other people he's going against, he's fighting all the odds because they've all got fights under their belts, they've all got experience under their belts. He's coming from a pro-wrestling organization, he's trying to experience something that he loves, which is completely different from pro-wrestling," Shamrock said. "So he takes that chance; isn't that what this world is built on, people that take chances to go out there and follow their dreams or follow things that they desire to do? And if by chance they fall down and don't succeed, we gotta give them room to get back up and continue to keep going, whatever direction it may be. We don't stomp on their heads and say, 'Oh you tried man, we're gonna crush you now because you failed.' To me, that's ridiculous because it's not fair.
"This guy did something that I thought not too many people would have the balls to do, to step out of a pro-wrestling ring and into an MMA ring, and he did that," Shamrock continued. "And he trained for it, he worked for it and it didn't work out for him. God bless him, man. But don't step on his head and not let him back up to try to make a recovery. That would be just wrong."
Source: Primo Nutmeg Podcast