UFC Pros Give Their Verdict After Watching Dwayne Johnson Train MMA to Become the Smashing Machine in His Upcoming Movie

Dwayne Johnson works even harder to learn MMA to authentically portray UFC Champion Mark Kerr in the film

Dwayne Johnson


  • Dwayne Johnson will next portray real-life UFC champion Mark Kerr in the upcoming A24 sports drama, The Smashing Machine.
  • Johnson has begun training for the Benny Safdie project, and he shared a video of Day 1 of his MMA training.
  • Alongside fans, UFC pros also posted encouraging comments under his video, appreciating his efforts.
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Dwayne Johnson has officially begun his transformation into two-time UFC heavyweight champion Mark Kerr for the upcoming film The Smashing Machine. Johnson posted a video to his Instagram announcing how he has been working hard at the MMA training camp for his role. The film is written and directed by Uncut Gems fame Benny Safdie in a solo venture for A24. Besides his own fans, UFC pros have also come up with encouraging comments under his training video.

Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson begins training for his role as Mark Kerr in The Smashing Machine
Dwayne Johnson begins training for his role as Mark Kerr in The Smashing Machine | Black Adam (Warner Bros.)

Kerr was popular among the fans during the no-holds barred era of UFC, and he won several titles besides the UFC championship. Kerr was the winner of the World Vale Tudo Championship, Pride FC Heavyweight Championship, 1992 NCAA National Wrestling Championship, and 1994 National Freestyle Championship.

Dwayne Johnson’s Training For New Role Gets Positive Comments From UFC Pros

UFC pros comment on Dwayne Johnson's training for The Smashing Machine
UFC pros comment on Dwayne Johnson’s training for The Smashing Machine (credits: @therock)

After his crowd-pulling appearance at WrestleMania 40, Dwayne Johnson is back in the film business. He has begun preparations to play UFC champion Mark Kerr in Benny Safdie‘s sports drama, The Smashing Machine. From the new video posted on his Instagram account, it appears that The Rock is seriously learning some new skills.


Johnson wrote in the captions that the learning process has been “humbling, intense, and motivating.” He added that he is a hard worker, but the role required him to work harder. Johnson also shared that physicality is only one part of his larger journey into the character of Mark Kerr. The Fast Five actor wrote on Instagram:

“I’m learning daily and it’s been a very humbling, intense and motivating journey into this world of combat and becoming, Mark Kerr – the two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion, World Vale Tudo Champion. I’m a hard worker, but I realized that I’d have to work harder with this role than anything I’ve ever worked for in my life. This physicality is just one part of the larger journey, that is truly a team effort. Growing and grateful.”

It was not just fans who flooded The Rock’s comment section with encouraging words. A few UFC pros were also happy to see the Jungle Cruise actor training so hard for the role. Mark Coleman shared that Johnson was looking so good in the training session and encouraged him to keep it up. Oban Elliot’s short yet supportive comment only mentioned The Rock’s latest nickname, The Final Boss, indicating that he’s living up to the name.

Jorge Masvidal, who goes by @gamebredfighter on Instagram, shared that he couldn’t wait for the movie to drop. Josh Barnett offered to help out the Red Notice actor since he had fought against Mark Kerr twice in UFC. Their comments read:


“Looking so good keep it up wow 👏🔥🙌” – @markcolemanufc

“Can’t wait for this to drop” – @gamebredfighter 

“You’ll never see this but you should bring me on as not only do I know his career, the man, but also competed against him twice.” – @joshlbarnett

“THE FINAL BOSS” – @obanelliot

“I sad the rock one time after my fight in hawaii 2002. Funny to see him doing mma now 🙌👏👏👏” – @ivanmenjivar

It appears that The Rock is really working hard on getting his part accurately portrayed on the screen. The caption was titled “Day 1,” meaning fans will get to see more of his training videos, where he works on his striking and grappling.

Dwayne Johnson and Benny Safdie Will Produce The Smashing Machine

Dwayne Johnson also produces the UFC-based drama alongside director Benny Safdie
Dwayne Johnson also produces the UFC-based drama alongside director Benny Safdie (credits: WWE)

Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions acquired the rights for Benny Safdie’s script in 2019, and the two have been collaborating on the project ever since. Safdie’s Out for the Count banner will also be producing the film alongside Seven Bucks. Noah Sacco of A24 has full trust in the actor and director, as he shared with Deadline:

“Dwayne and Benny are singular talents, and their shared vision for Mark’s inspiring story is electrifying. We are deeply honored to have their trust as collaborators in bringing this incredibly special project to life.”

Besides telling the story of Mark Kerr inside the ring, The Smashing Machine will also tell his struggle with addiction, love, and friendship in the year 2000. Kerr was also the subject of an HBO documentary of the same name in 2003.


The Smashing Machine is expected to make a theatrical release in 2025.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1476

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.