Former WWE champion David Bautista, better known to WWE fans as “The Animal” Dave Batista, has been trying to get an MMA career going for quite some time now, but to no avail.

Come Oct. 6 in Providence, R.I.—the site of a future CES MMA event— Bautista will get his opportunity to begin his MMA career, and he will do so against a fellow newcomer to the sport in 3-1 heavyweight Rashid “Smash” Evans. Little is known about who “Smash” is and what “Smash” can do, but even less is known about what Bautista can do.

The 43-year-old former WWE champion is starting his career off at an age where most fighters would be perceived as past their prime, and aside from a former occupation as a bouncer and a backstage incident or two, there have not been many instances of Bautista having to show any physicality outside of what he has done for the WWE.

So, now begs a very important question for the man known as “The Animal”: when it comes time to put up or shut up, what can he actually do inside the cage?

Those who have kept up with Bautista’s post-WWE career are aware that he has been an MMA enthusiast and fan for quite a long time now—as are many pro wrestlers from WWE’s CM Punk and Bryan Danielson to The Undertaker to even former Ring Of Honor world champion Davey Richards—but there is a difference between an enthusiast and an actual fighter.

Bautista will have to answer questions about not only his striking, his conditioning and his cardio, but also his ground game and his own wrestling game. As an enthusiast, he likely understands that his former line of work differs from the type of wrestling used by such fighters as Chris Weidman, Cole Konrad, Stipe Miocic and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Though his career will not be defined by his performance against a relative unknown like Evans, the first impressions of Bautista as a fighter will be defined by this first outing.

Fans, however, can expect that while Bautista will exhibit a flaw or two in his game, he will also be up to the challenge of proving his skeptics wrong as he looks to begin his MMA career with a bang. Evans will not prove to be his toughest test in this sport, but he will prove an obstacle as he too looks to claim his first pro win.

Even still, any fans of the MMA world with their eyes and ears focused on the career of the Filipino-born heavyweight can remain confident in Bautista’s skills as a fighter, and they can also remain confident in Bautista’s ability to show what skills he does possess as he sets out on his mission to become yet another WWE crossover star—a former WWE champion with the goal of becoming one of MMA’s top names.

Then again, as the old saying goes, “Talk is cheap.” If Bautista wants to prove he can succeed in the sport, especially at his advanced age, it’ll have to show with his efforts against Evans. If Bautista is successful, it’s a good sign of things to come for him in his future. However, if Bautista cannot find success against his first foe, his MMA career may end before it ever has the chance to begin.

Photo:  Dave Bautista (far left) (Cesar Gracie and Quinn Shields/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.

  • Amy Padgett

    OMG! I didn’t think he could ever get any hotter, but I was wrong! Good luck to him, I’ll be cheering for him!