MANILA, Philippines – After deciding to hang up the gloves for good 5 months ago, former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Paul Cheng will be making his foray into professional wrestling.
The 37-year-old Taiwanese-Canadian publicly confirmed his venture to the sports-entertainment industry on his personal Facebook page on Sunday, May 15 (Manila time), saying he will be flying to Orlando, Florida for a 3-day tryout at the WWE Performance Center.
Cheng was chosen along with his Clinch MMA and Fitness teammate Shawna Ram for the official shortlist of 30 male and 15 female aspirants who will have a shot to work at WWE’s developmental territory NXT.
“Headed to NXT training camp with my teammate Shawna Ram. Thanks WWE for the opportunity to live my childhood dreams,” Cheng wrote.
There is a long list of MMA competitors who made the jump to professional wrestling in the past, including Ken Shamrock, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Josh Barnett, Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki.
Cheng, who left the sport of MMA with a professional record of 5-3, was last seen in action when he was knocked out by Filipino-American veteran Brandon Vera for the inaugural ONE Championship heavyweight title this past December.
A few hours after being defeated by Vera in just 26 seconds with a vicious kick to the jaw, Cheng announced his retirement to focus on his acting career.
Prior to his MMA stint, Cheng played defensive tackle for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.
Former American football players “Superstar” Billy Graham, Ron “Farooq” Simmons, Bill Goldberg, “Cowboy” Bill Watts and Monty Brown have traded their helmets for wrestling tights and boots. – Rappler.com