UFC or WWE? Jim Ross predicts the futures of Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and CM Punk

Posted at 7:58 PM, Jan 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 11:36:34-05

Few people have their thumb on the pulse of both the pro wrestling and mixed martial arts scene like Jim Ross does.

The legendary pro wrestling announcer and WWE Hall of Famer has also done commentary for MMA events. During his stop at ABC15 on Thursday, Ross, AKA Good Ol' JR, discussed the futures of three superstars who have been a part of both worlds: Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and CM Punk.

Rousey won her first 12 UFC fights and was the UFC Women's Bantamweight champion for nearly four years. But she's lost her last two fights, including December's matchup with Amanda Nunes via TKO in 48 seconds.

JR said Rousey was "completely unprepared" for Nunes' strikes and needs to change coaching staffs if she wants to step back in the octagon. But she thinks the 29-year-old, who made a surprise appearance at Wrestlemania 31 alongside The Rock two years ago, could have a bright future in WWE.

"I do think she has a lot more left in the tank. I think she's very marketable," he said. "I don't think she'd ever go to WWE and be a regular (but) I could see her coming to WWE and doing a big one-off event like at a Wrestlemania or something, without question.

"Those two losses in a real sport have nothing to do with a fictional sport. (WWE chairman Vince) McMahon is the P.T. Barnum of this era. If anybody can get Ronda Rousey hot, relevant and a must-see, it's Vince. I think she's got a lot left in the tank, plus let's not forget she's buddies with The Rock, so there's some synergy there that you would not pass up."

Brock Lesnar is the only man on the planet to win both the WWE and UFC heavyweight championships. In 2002, he became the youngest world champ in WWE history. He spent four years in UFC before returning to WWE on a part-time basis in 2012. He is scheduled to compete in the WWE Royal Rumble on Jan. 29.

JR thinks Lesnar could have one more UFC match left in him but believes his long-term future is in the squared circle.

"I think that Brock Lesnar could have one more fight in UFC for the payday. He sells tickets and pay-per-views. If nothing else, people will pay money to watch him get his ass whipped, and that's fine," he said.

"He's not a young pup anymore. I see him sticking with pro wrestling and WWE. He's got a great gig there. He's making seven figures-plus-plus-plus for working part-time. How many guys would like that?"

Like Lesnar, CM Punk went from the scripted wrestling to the unscripted stuff. His 15-year pro wrestling career included nearly a decade in WWE, including a 434-day run as WWE champion from 2011-13. But he had a falling out with WWE in early 2014 and soon embarked upon his UFC career, where he lost his one and only match to date.

JR said he doesn't see Punk returning to WWE, but that doesn't mean his pro wrestling career is necessarily over.

"I would be shocked if he came back to WWE. However -- and he might disagree with this -- I would not be shocked if he came back and did a wrestling gig," he said. "Maybe New Japan (Pro Wrestling), something along those lines. There's a lot of talk of other groups that are looking to get their toe in the water.

"McMahon's got the monopoly, and they do a phenomenal job. They're the big dog in the yard, so other dogs now are barking. We'll see how it comes about. I don't think Punk would ever go back to WWE, but I could be wrong. They could hug and make up."