Shinsuke Nakamura is the “King of Strong Style.” This isn’t just a moniker. His style consists of knee strikes, elbow strikes, grappling and submissions. It is very clearly modeled after MMA. In fact, Nakamura is a winning MMA fighter, having compiled a 3-1 record between 2002 and 2004. So was he thinking about going to UFC? Here’s what he had to say to the Hindustan Times:
Around 2005, UFC offered me a chance to fight for them. But, at that moment, I was under contract with NJPW and I decided to stay in pro-wrestling. It was a good opportunity, but I don’t regret my choice.”
At the time, Nakamura was just beginning his pro-wrestling career. He was in a bit of lull and wouldn’t emerge as the “King of Strong Style” until years later following a learning excursion to Mexico and the United States. If Nakamura had gone the MMA route he would have joined the ranks of Sakuraba, Minoru Suzuki, and Brock Lesnar as New Japan stars who split their time between MMA and pro-wrestling. However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding Nakamura’s MMA career. Two of his fights were contested IN a pro-wrestling promotion during a time when Japanese wrestling an MMA were blurring the lines between real and fake fights. I think Nakamura could certainly hold his own in an MMA fight. Surely he wouldn’t do worse than CM Punk?
What do you think? How would Nakamura fare in the UFC? Share your thoughts in the comments below.