Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan has been on the shelf since May, and his return to action — if that ever happens — is a constant point of contention. Bryan has voiced his frustrations about not being cleared by WWE doctors, and he’s suggested every alternate career plan from gardening to lucha libre. Some sources believe that WWE is actually keeping a healthy Bryan on the backburner so his popularity doesn’t alter their WrestleMania plans. Long story short, Daniel Bryan’s out there somewhere and wrestling fans don’t have him, and that sucks.
According to a Sporting News interview with former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson about whether former WWE talent like CM Punk can transition into the world of MMA, Henderson mentioned that he’s seen Bryan training at his gym, and he’s impressed.
Henderson had the chance to see WWE talent train in MMA. Former WWE champion Daniel Bryan does mixed martial arts training at Henderson’s gym, the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. Bryan used to train at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas under one of the best grappling coaches in the world, Neil Melanson. While he hasn’t trained with Bryan, Henderson is impressed with what he’s seen from him.
“He was out with some injuries in WWE,” Henderson said. “He came to our gym and moved up to blue belt in jiu-jitsu under my coach John Crouch. Every time I go in there, he’s working his butt off. I heard he was pretty strong and actually surprised me with how technical he is. A lot of guys have a hard time learning all those techniques. I heard he was really great at being able to use his technique and not relying on his strength. He’s smooth and does jiu-jitsu really well.”
Let’s drift off into wrestling fan fantasy booking where Punk’s first fight gets delayed long enough for Daniel Bryan to be his first opponent. Alternately, let’s just imagine that Bryan’s MMA training sessions look like this:
In all seriousness, continuing his MMA training may be a great way for Bryan to stay focused, skilled and in shape for whenever his body complies and/or WWE decides to work him back into the rotation. Bryan’s style has evolved over the years thanks to an MMA influence, so seeing him turn his technical wrestling ability into a mastery of BJJ could make him even better. As long as it ends with Bryan in a wrestling ring again, I think we’re all on board.
(Please let it end that way.)