ByMatt Juul, writer at
MMA and Entertainment Writer
Matt Juul

, one of the pound-for-pound greatest boxing movies of all-time, hit theaters for the first time 40 years ago this week, and Hollywood hasn't been the same since.

Sylvester Stallone's iconic sports drama (which he wrote) earned 10 Academy Award nominations after its release in 1976, and ended up winning three , including . In addition to becoming the highest-grossing film of that year, Rocky has since spawned a decades-spanning franchise, with a total of seven flicks that have earned more than $1.4 billion at the box office.

In honor of the film's big anniversary, we decided to see what it would be like if stars, past and present, were cast as characters in Rocky movies. Check out the hilarious results below.

Eddie Alvarez as Rocky Balboa

Was there really any other choice? As a Philadelphia native who knows how to take a punch, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is, without a doubt, the perfect choice to play Rocky Balboa. There's simply no other option.

Khabib Nurmagomedov as Ivan Drago

Like Alvarez, fellow UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has his own perfect Rocky counterpart in the form of the fourth installment's classic Russian villain Ivan Drago. Considering Nurmagomedov likes to talk smack inside the Octagon, it wouldn't be a surprise if he ever said, "If he dies, he dies," after another brutal fight.

Tyron Woodley as Apollo Creed

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley may not be as fashionable as Apollo Creed, but he definitely has the martial arts moves to match him in the ring. Maybe someone can give Woodley a star-spangled top hat for his next big fight.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk as Adrian Pennino

The Rocky franchise is seriously lacking in the tough, female fighters department, meaning there's a glut of MMA options of who could play Rocky's main squeeze, Adrian Pennio. That said, it's hard not to give the role to strawweight champ and rising UFC star, Joanna Jedrezejczyk.

Rampage Jackson as Clubber Lang

Considering that former UFC champ, Rampage Jackson took over for Mr. T in the A-Team remake, he'd definitely be the right fit for the role of Clubber Lang. I pity the fool who suggests another option for the part.

Matt Serra as Paulie Pennino

A foul-mouthed cornerman who's let his physique go over the years? Yeah, Matt Serra was born to play Paulie Pennino.

"Judo" Gene LaBelle as Mickey Goldmill

Another tough as nails, no-nonsense trainer who's used to doing things old-school, Mickey Goldmill's real-life counterpart is, without a doubt, Ronda Rousey's beloved coach "Judo" Gene LaBelle. Honestly, they look like they could be brothers.

Which MMA stars would you cast as Rocky characters? Let us know in the comments below.


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