Exclusive: Former WWE Star Batista is Set for MMA Debut

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Dave Bautista was formerly known as simply Batista during his tenure in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), but he has now ventured into the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), where he makes his debut on Saturday 6th October.


Since leaving the WWE in 2010, Bautista expressed his interest in becoming an MMA fighter, but the road to the octagon hasn't been straightforward.


He was originally going to join Strikeforce in 2011, but the deal fell through. A deal was finally agreed with Classic Entertainment and Sports earlier this year for Bautista to fight on the Real Pain in Providence card, in Rhode Island against Rashid Evans.


However Evans pulled out on October 1st and Bautista is now going to be stepping in the cage with fight veteran Vince Lucero, and the Washington DC fighter is itching to get his MMA career underway.


"It has been a long wait for this first fight and with the change of opponent at such a late stage there are times you think will this ever happen," the 43-year-old said. "But as far as preparing myself, I haven't really stopped training for the last couple of years.


"Then when I found out I was going to be fighting professionally, we had an eight week training camp, but the camp was pretty much done by the time we lost the first opponent.


"There wasn't really anytime to change the training for the new guy and there was only limited footage of him in action, so we are going in there with the same game plan and play to my strengths."


The former grappler is following in the footsteps of guys such as, Tank Abbot, Steve Blackman, Ken Shamrock, Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesner, who have all competed in both wrestling and MMA, but Bautista tells us he will be coming to the cage with his own style.


"Both Brock and Bobby were very different fighters to myself," he continues. "I think they both based their MMA careers on their wrestling ability, I'm the opposite, I prefer the standing-up approach, that is where I feel my game is at.


"I have really gone out of my way to pursue traditional jiu-jitsu and I really consider myself a martial artist, so I haven't really implemented the amateur wrestling style."


As well as a number of wrestlers making the transition from the squared circle to the octagon, the likes of The Undertaker and Kurt Angle have shown they are fans of MMA, so will any wrestlers be showing Bautista their support when he makes his long awaited debut?


"Yeah actually, I still have lots of friends in both WWE and TNA, and talk to a lot of the wrestlers I use to work with, and they've wished me good luck," he added. "MVP is coming to watch this fight and he will be on the ring walk with me as well which will be great."


Dave Bautista makes his MMA debut on October 6th 2012, follow him on Twitter @DaveBautista