That WWE is interested in doing business with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is no secret. Even before he crossed over into the world of boxing this past August for his superfight with a past WrestleMania guest star in Floyd Mayweather, company officials were on record as talking up what a natural the trash-talking Irishman would be for sports entertainment.
Triple H has openly fantasy booked different kinds of appearances for “The Notorious” over the past couple years, and just last week Stephanie McMahon said at the Leaders in Sport conference “I think Conor would be a perfect fit with WWE”.
Maybe the timing of the quote from Stephanie was telling. If a report from UK’s The Sun is to be believed, it may have been. In an exclusive written by Adam Higgins, that paper says they have a source claiming talks between McGregor and WWE are serious and “that a deal is close”.
Details are sparse, but The Sun’s speculation points to a one-off appearance at the 2018 WrestleMania against one of WWE’s “biggest stars”.
Conor has discussed overtures from the McMahons in the past, and never closed the door on working with WWE (even while bad mouthing many of its current stars, creating a ton of possible storyline fodder for a ‘Mania program in the process). This time, however, The Sun’s source says “He has some things to tie up in the UFC before he can do anything else but this is a big money deal so I can’t see him turning it down.”
Those “things to tie up” could be substantial. He’s already been stripped of the promotion’s Featherweight belt due to inactivity, and it’s been almost a year since he defeated Eddie Alvarez to claim the title he still holds. McGregor does have a lot of negotiating power with UFC as their biggest star, however, especially with Jon Jones again sidelined (and possibly finished) after another failed drug test and Ronda Rousey seemingly retired and WWE-bound herself.
But if New Orleans in April of 2018 is the goal, Conor could conceiveably still work in a Lightweight title defense like the one UFC President Dana White wants him to book against Tony Ferguson and still have time to set-up and promote a ‘Mania appearance.
All provided the money is right. Which, The Sun makes it sound like it is. But The Sun is a tabloid, and in covering their story, at least one wrestling media outlet with sources of its own, PWInsider, is saying they have not been able to independently verify the story.
So we may not know much more than we did yesterday - WWE wants Mystic Mac, and the Dublin bruiser is game for a big enough check. Or, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and something is happening.
Either way, we’re probably facing months of rumors and reports about the potential partnership, so buckle up and start speculating!