Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman wants to get in a cage and beat the living hell outta someone ... and that person??? It's wrestling superstar Batista.
YES, Merriman wants to fight Dave Bautista ... the WWE legend turned Hollywood star in a real deal MMA fight.
"He looks good, man. I know that people will watch that," Merriman tells TMZ Sports.
"I know people wanna see that. If he was down to do it, I would do it in a second. I wouldn't even question that one."
Shawne knows Bautista's a busy guy -- he's fighting Triple H at Wrestlemania 35 this weekend and he's currently working on numerous films -- but still thinks they can make the fight happen.
"I know he's got other stuff going on, but why not give the people something they want to see."
The reason why we're even talking about this ... the former All-Pro linebacker just launched his own MMA promotion -- Lights Out Xtreme Fighting -- and he's seriously considering taking his first fight.
Thing is, 6'4", 265 lb. Bautista ain't ONLY a wrestler and actor -- he's actually won a pro fight -- and he still trains (peep this).
But, don't get it twisted ... Shawne ain't a chump. He's 34 (16 years younger than 50-year-old Batista) ... and he's a freak of an athlete.
Oh, and he's also 6'4", 265 lbs.
So, what's Shawne's message to Dave?
"Hey Batista, if you're watching this dude, we're both from the DMV area. I got mad love and respect for you. I know you been around the game a long time, and people wanna see it. Come on. I'll be ready."