WWE is looking to bring in another mainstream name from the world of combat sports.
According to the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer (h/t SEScoops), WWE remains interested in signing UFC star Daniel Cormier, who retired from MMA following his loss to Stipe Miocic at last week’s UFC 252 event: “Dave Meltzer mentioned on Sunday Night’s Main Event podcast that WWE has interest in signing UFC veteran Daniel Cormier to the commentary team after he announced his retirement…though WWE officials are not the only ones interested in bringing Cormier into the company and Fox officials are also said to be interested in signing the UFC star for the SmackDown commentary team.”
WWE’s reported interest in Cormier is actually nothing new.
One of the most decorated stars in UFC history, Cormier told BT Sport (h/t Wrestling Inc) in December 2019 that he had frequently been in contact with WWE about working for the company in some capacity, including a potential analyst position on the since-cancelled WWE Backstage: “I got an offer to work that new show, WWE Backstage on [FS1]. Obviously, it didn’t work with the new relationship with [UFC and] ESPN. But we are constantly trying to get me involved in the product. As a big time fan of the WWE, nothing makes me happier.”
Cormier has been linked to a potential jump to WWE since at least 2018, when he revealed that he had discussed a possible commentary role with WWE and described the chance of working with WWE as a “dream” of his. FOX reportedly wanted WWE to use Cormier as an announcer/commentator in preparation for SmackDown’s big move to the network last fall, but nothing materialized. In November 2018, Cormier didn’t completely close the door on the idea of wrestling in WWE but noted that he would rather work at the announce table instead. Of course, that hasn’t ended the discussions about the former UFC Heavyweight Champion transitioning from the octagon to the squared circle.
There had long been teases of Cormier potentially facing WWE star Brock Lesnar in UFC, a blockbuster fight that could have been one of the most highly anticipated MMA bouts in recent memory. Given Lesnar’s retirement from UFC and Cormier’s as well, that fight is virtually impossible, but just last summer, Cormier and WWE NXT head Triple H teased that WWE could book a fight between the two stars in the scripted world of pro wrestling. While that would be a massive match for WWE that could bring in some new fans to Raw or SmackDown, it appears that if Cormier ends up in WWE at some point, it will be as part of the show’s announce team.
That’s for the best, especially given how recent crossover combat stars have fared in WWE.
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Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury received a massive payday for his Crown Jewel match against Braun Strowman last fall, but Fury’s performance in the ring left a lot to be desired and really highlighted just how difficult it is even for talented athletes to make the transition to sports entertainment. Cormier’s fellow former UFC star Cain Velasquez wrestled his debut WWE match at that same Crown Jewel show but ultimately had a blink-and-you-missed-it WWE career, which ended in April when he was released by the company as a cost-cutting measure.
Much like Fury, Velasquez struggled to make the transition to pro wrestling, which should give WWE pause about bringing in perceived major stars even for one-off matches. Of the three combat stars, Cormier—a former Olympic freestyle wrestler—would be the most natural fit for WWE, but at 41 years old and with a lengthy career in combat sports behind him, he’d likely be a more pivotal asset to WWE in some sort of commentary or analyst role. After all, Cormier is a well-known diehard WWE fan with extensive knowledge about the WWE product, the athletic background that gives him the credibility to analyze it and the name value that could bring some crossover fans with him wherever he lands.
With WWE’s announce teams on both Raw and SmackDown in need of some changes, perhaps Cormier will be welcomed to the team in the near future to freshen things up.
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