"Stone Cold" Steve Austin has not performed as a professional wrestler since 2003. And he was the biggest star in the sport from 1998-2001.
However, in an interview Monday on The MMA Hour, Austin said that he now gets more of a charge watching mixed martial arts than the wrestling business he's loved since childhood.
"Just from the world that I come from, I left pro wrestling behind a couple of years ago when I started doing my own thing," said Austin. "From my world, I can read between the lines of these angles (on a pro wrestling television show), I can guess or tell a lot of what is about to happen. I get a little more charged up in a UFC fight. In some of those championship matches, my heart's already pounding sitting on the couch, when it's about to start. These days I'd rather tip my hat to a badass UFC main event, but with all due respect, pro wrestling is my first love."
"They're two different worlds. But there's something of a parallel. Pro wrestling is basically what MMA is, just at a worked level with theatrical elements."
Austin feels one overlooked theatrical element that is frequently lacking in MMA is interviews.
"A guy gets a chance on the horn and they crap the bed," said Austin. "That's an outstanding opportunity for you, a great way to reach out and let the crowd know who you are and what you are. Some guys talk stupid trash that doesn't make sense. Some of the guys who lose fights get a booboo face. Anytime Brian Stann fought, whether he lost or won, he commanded your respect when he was on the horn. I always liked to watch his promos. He's a smart cat."
"Cain Velasquez basically says what he's going to do, I don't need a wild promo out of him. I just want to hear that he's taking care of business. I'm looking forward to him and Junior Dos Santos No. 3 because those two are pure fighters."
"I tell you, I'm down at the ranch, me and my buddy, watching the fights the other night, and I was blown away by Alexander Gustafsson. We've seen him come along, but this was his shining moment. He's been a star in the making all this time, but against Jon Jones, a superstar was born."