Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith are excited to see which UFC fighters find their way to the WWE ring after the two organizations finally merged together.
Earlier this week, the merger bringing the mixed martial arts empire and the sports entertainment juggernaut together under one roof officially closed. Both entities will now co-exist under the new publicly traded company, TKO Group. Cosmetically, both organizations are expected to stay the course, but that hasn’t stopped fans and fighters from dreaming up ways that the UFC and WWE could capitalize on cross-promotional opportunities.
Speaking about the merger on a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast, Anthony Smith shared his appreciation for the storytelling that the WWE does, though he’s not such a big fan of what the product produces these days.
“I like it for the performance. I enjoy it. I think that some of the sh*t they do is crazy,” Smith said. “Obviously, I’m just a fan of incredible physical feats. I love watching NFL players practice. Just high-level NFL guys. It’s just fascinating to watch them train. WWE is the same. I think what they do is an art, especially the psychology side of it is really fascinating to me. How they create a story and play it out over a long period. They have these storylines that go years, especially in the heyday. I enjoy that part of it. It’s corny as sh*t these days.”
Anyone over the age of 30 probably remembers the late 90s and early 2000s of WWE programming, affectionately referred to as the ‘Attitude Era’ of pro wrestling. From 1997 to the mid-2000s, World Wrestling Entertainment became a billion-dollar business by pushing the envelope with shock TV and anti-heroes like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock leading the charge. Speaking about the promotion’s heyday, Smith reminisced about one of the crazier moments in the history of the organization.
“The Attitude Era, some of the sh*t they were able to do on live TV was insane,” Smith continued. “Joe Rogan had Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts on… He’s an old-school wrestler and he was telling that story where he had a cobra and the whole idea of the snake in this match with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and he was going to let the snake bite ‘Macho Man’ and it was gonna like, kill him or whatever.
“And ‘Macho Man’ wouldn’t let Jake ‘The Snake’ put the snake on him until Jake ‘The Snake’ let the snake bite him backstage. So ‘Macho Man’ made Jake let the snake bite himself in the backstage and he wracked it on the head a couple of times and let the snake gnaw on him in the back. Then they went out and did it. It was crazy. The sh*t they used to do. The cage sh*t when they’re throwing each other off the top, it was insane.”
— Wrestling from 80s/90s (@Wrestling80s90s) October 21, 2020
Michael Bisping Sees a Lot of UFC Stars Potentially Moving to WWE
One of the biggest possibilities regarding the UFC’s merger with WWE is that it presents the opportunity for professional fighters to extend their earning potential beyond fighting.
“I think the big storyline or the big benefit, depending on which way you look at it. Some people might say it’s a watering down which I don’t think so, but there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for UFC stars to go off to the WWE world and take part in that,” Bisping said. “I fancy a bit of that. I’m retired. I’ll have a go. I’ll clothesline a son of a b*tch.”
Discussing who fight fans could see moving into the story-driven world of pro wrestling, Michael Bisping suggested Irish megastar Conor McGregor will undoubtedly appear inside the WWE ring at some point.
“If you had to pick some fighters from the UFC that are a shoo-in to go over there, I’ll start the ball rolling,” Bisping said. “Come on, let’s be honest. Conor McGregor. 100%. Don’t tell me that he’s not going to show up at Wrestlemania sometime in the future.”
In an interesting twist, Anthony Smith suggested McGregor’s anticipated opponent for his 2024 return to the Octagon.
“Michael Chandler,” Smith added without hesitation. “That guy can cut a promo. He’s athletic enough. I think he’s got a muscly build to him. You zoom in on him, he might look like he’s 250 pounds. You don’t have to pan out all the way.”
Bisping and Smith also believe the newly crowned UFC middleweight world champion, Sean Strickland, could find himself a post-MMA career in the world of sports entertainment thanks to his penchant for being both loved and hated simultaneously. Other names mentioned by the duo include Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Tai Tuivasa, and Daniel Cormier, though they noted that ‘DC’ would likely find himself in another commentary role.
Which UFC star, past or present, would you like to see inside the WWE ring?
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