In an interview with the Hindustan Times, “King of Strong Style” and/or “The Artist” if you’re nasty Shinsuke Nakamura revealed the reason why he turned down a contract with UFC over a decade ago.
Nakamura — who has a 3-1 MMA record, which is a hell of a lot better than some people — says he was offered a contract with the company in 2005, but decided to stick with pro wres, and thinks he made the right call.
From the interview:
“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.
“You have to understand that I am 37-year old now. It has been a long time since my last proper MMA training and although I still train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, it will take me at least one year to be ready for a proper fight. That is not something I want to do as I am happy in WWE.”
If you’ve never seen Nakamura fight outside of dropping Baron Corbin with a variety of Kinshasa, here’s footage of Nak’s MMA career on both sides of the decision. We’re sure he could’ve prospered anywhere he went, but pro wrestling (and at least half a dozen Wrestle Kingdom cards) thanks him.