It’s official — all four members of women’s mixed martial arts’ “Four Horsewomen” are now in the WWE, as Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir have just reported to WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
The news was confirmed on the WWE website on Monday morning, as the company announced that Duke and Shafir will be training at the Performance Center, as they hone their wrestling skills in hopes of future exposure in the company’s developmental promotion, NXT, or its Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live rosters further down the line. The two women’s MMA standouts will be joining contemporaries Ronda Rousey, who signed a deal with WWE ahead of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January, and Shayna Baszler, who competed in last year’s Mae Young Classic tournament and currently reigns as the NXT Women’s Champion.
As noted by WWE, Jessamyn Duke is best known for her appearance in Season 18 of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter reality series in 2013, where she and Baszler were among the women on then-UFC Bantamweight Champion Rousey’s team. Her fighter profile on Sherdog lists her at 5 feet, 11 inches and 136 pounds, with a career record of three wins, five losses, and one no-contest across several MMA promotions.
While Marina Shafir has less experience in the MMA scene, with a career record of one win and two losses, she already has an existing connection with the WWE, as she is engaged to NXT’s Roderick Strong, whom she has an infant son with.
The apparent reunion of MMA’s “Four Horsewomen” in the WWE comes close to a year after the real-life friends had a memorable face-off against WWE’s own foursome of the same name, which includes NXT graduates and current main roster stars Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Sasha Banks. This took place at the Mae Young Classic in the summer of 2017, where Duke, Shafir, and Rousey supported Baszler as she made her way to the tournament’s finals. While the trio of Flair, Lynch, and Bayley merely exchanged words with the MMA stars, the scripted incident nonetheless sparked rumors that both Four Horsewomen factions would be facing each other at that year’s Survivor Series.
In December, Sportskeeda cited Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, who wrote that the MMA vs. WWE Four Horsewomen match might not push forward after all, but with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir now training at WWE’s Performance Center, Cageside Seats speculated that this could very well cause the rumors of the aforementioned faction feud to fire up once again.