Just as the WWE looks set to draw from the star power of a former champion in the UFC, the UFC might just have laid the foundations to steal back one of the WWE’s most historically successful superstars. These two combatants are Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar.
McGregor has gradually made himself known to pro wrestling fans through his bizarre outbursts on Twitter. Either because he’s a big fan disappointed with recent productions or he wants to come to the squared circle as an instant heel, McGregor has been vocal in recent years.
In 2016, he wrote that he’d “slap the head off your entire roster” to WWE fans, and following the most recent WrestleMania, “Notorious” typed that he wasn’t at the biggest of shows because “they all fear me.” Now, while he does have a big date on his calendar, McGregor is teasing a big jump over to the WWE.
McGregor teasing a WrestleMania appearance
Conor McGregor is making his long-awaited return to the octagon this year. He’s still a huge draw in the UFC, even without a title or a bout for a couple of years, and even with his losing streak. This year, McGregor will fight Michael Chandler, with their place as coaches in the reality show The Ultimate Fighter being the manufactured beginnings of the rivalry to ramp up views.
It’s a close fight and one that could go either way between the typical striker and wrestler, even to the extent that the oddsmakers are mostly in flux. The outright markets for sports betting in Canada have McGregor as the -115 favorite, but only narrowly. Chandler comes in at -105 to win the fight, which certainly doesn’t make him a distant underdog. The bout will likely take place in or after September 2023, leaving some openings for the Irishman.
Playing into this, and with April 1 and 2 being WrestleMania 39, XXXIX, McGregor has, in equal measure, been posting about his rivalry on TUF as well as potentially coming to the WWE’s biggest event of the year. On March 16, combat sports reporter Ariel Helwani posted a picture with McGregor with the line “Next stop… Mania?” with the WWE following up with the wide-eyes emoji to add fuel to the rumor fire.
Could it be that all of these years of berating superstars from Twitter have landed McGregor a place at WrestleMania? Yes and no. If he does attend, McGregor will almost certainly be in the crowd, pulled into a confrontation with one of the wrestlers from the stands, as so many non-wrestling celebrities have in the past. Whether he’ll do his “Billionaire Strut” toward the ring afterward depends on how much time he can devote away from his UFC training.
Will Lesnar be coaxed back to the octagon?
Jon “Bones” Jones, the new heavyweight champion of the UFC, has called out WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was once one of the biggest names in the WWE, reigning as the WWE Universal Champion multiple times, winning the Royal Rumble twice, and headlining WrestleMania five times. Being from a collegiate wrestling background and boasting incredible athleticism, Lesnar also found success in the UFC, quickly winning the heavyweight crown.
Now, Lesnar is comfortably back in the WWE and has been in a grand battle with Bobby Lashley across several events. At WrestleMania 39, he’s scheduled to battle Omos in what should be a great match. After that, however, he might just be able to dip back into the UFC. Jones has said that he and Lesnar would make for a huge event as Lesnar has a massive fan base, and he’s a lot bigger than the reigning UFC belt holder.
The UFC and WWE look to become intertwined once again in 2023. It’s looking like McGregor will finally appear at a WWE event and perhaps get involved, while it’d take a lot for Lesnar – now aged 45 – to return to the UFC