He's now known as the "King of Strong Style," and that was a moniker that Shinsuke Nakamura earned both in pro wrestling and MMA.
After multiple reigns as NXT Champion, Nakamura is now enjoying success at the top of the card on Smackdown Live every Tuesday. The Japanese star made his name in New Japan Pro Wrestling, but saw his worlds collide 15 years ago when he roomed with eventual WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and eventual UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida
Nakamura's oft-forgotten run in MMA included a four-fight unbeaten streak that closed out in 2004. Ending with a 3-1 record with one no contest, Nakamura revealed to the Hindustan Times what UFC actually approached him with an offer to fight for the company in 2005.
"Around 2005, UFC offered me a chance to fight for them," Nakamura said. "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."
The pick to stick around in pro wrestling ended up working out for Nakamura. He would go on to become one of the most recognizable wrestlers in the world before signing with WWE in 2016. Nakamura recognizes the chance he had in front of him, but don't expect him to pursue MMA moving forward.
"You have to understand that I am 37-year old now," Nakamura said. "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."
Nakamura does still participate in MMA training here and there, as he was recently spotted training with UFC's Ulka Sasaki.