Kurt Angle has recently discussed how he almost became a UFC fighter, but was surprised at who his first opponent was scheduled to be.
The Olympic gold medallist ended up leaving WWE 2006 after almost seven years with the company. Although he was looking to heal his body after a gruelling career to that point, he spoke on The Kurt Angle Show about how the offers started coming in straight away.
One of those offers was to join UFC, and Angle explained how he started MMA training just in case he decided to take that opportunity.
When I left WWE, I started training a little bit at the Pittsburgh Fight Club and I did it for about three or four months. Even when I signed with TNA, I was still doing the training, and I wanted to become more knowledgeable and keep my options open to have a big MMA fight down the road. I started training Jiu-Jitsu, stand-up fighting, boxing, learning all the trades so I could be well versed and well prepared if I ever did have a fight. It never occurred and I got lost into wrestling again. I love pro wrestling and there was nothing that was going to keep me from it.
Angle went on to discuss how the offer from UFC came about, however he was told there was no chance for him to do that and professional wrestling at the same time.
When the UFC offered me a deal when I left the WWE, it was a really good deal, but I told Dana that I had to wrestle too and he said, ‘There’s no way you can wrestle and fight.’ He’s right, that was a stupid idea that I had in my head to think that I could do both. I wouldn’t have survived very long doing both, but that’s what I wanted and Dana would not allow me to, so I had to turn down his offer.
He went on to reveal that the discussions over his first fight caught him by surprise, as he was potentially set to fight Daniel Puder who he knew as a former winner of WWE Tough Enough. Angle said he was underwhelmed by the idea of the fight, and also commented on the pair’s run-in during an episode of SmackDown.
He wasn’t very specific on saying we’re going to protect you, but the opponent that he gave me at the beginning was a good opponent. Very intriguing from a public interest standpoint, especially from a pro wrestling fan standpoint. Very intriguing because he didn’t have a lot of experience in MMA, he only fought a couple of times, but I had a little episode with him in the WWE. That was Daniel Puder, and when Dana said that to me I said, ‘Are you serious? Daniel Puder, that’s all?’ Not that I thought Daniel Puder was easy because he actually had my arm trapped and he would have broken my arm when we did our little episode on SmackDown. I just knew that I could beat Daniel Puder.
With thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.