As the Inquisitr reported late Monday afternoon, the WWE is looking to capitalize off the mainstream press Brock Lesnar is getting via his return to MMA for the UFC 200 event on July 9 in Las Vegas. As previously noted, Vince McMahon and other WWE officials are trying to make plans for a huge SummerSlam segment featuring stars of the UFC against WWE superstars. The only name we’ve heard so far from the UFC camp has been Paige VanZant, but with two and a half months remaining until the big event, this situation could continue to be fluid.
Nothing is set in stone as far as what the segment would entail, but with Paige VanZant at the head of WWE’s recruiting class, word is that SummerSlam would see some of the females from the WWE Women’s Division go face-to-face with the women from UFC. Whether other UFC stars jump on board still remains to be seen, and obviously, Ronda Rousey has maintained a good relationship with the wrestling company.
Daily Wrestling News is reporting that representatives for Paige VanZant confirmed to FOX Sports that WWE did in fact reach out to VanZant, and that there has been communication from both sides. Contract negotiations appear to be ongoing, but at the moment, nothing is imminent. VanZant is also in the process of resuming her training for a return to the octagon, as she hasn’t competed in a match since December, 2015.
Paige actually lost her most recent fight, which came at the hands of Rose Namajunas via a rear naked choke in the fifth round. However, Namajunas was a replacement for VanZant’s original opponent, Joanne Calderwood, who had to pull out in October. VanZant has clear appeal to WWE officials. For one, she’s a UFC star who’s very good looking and she’s recently coming off an appearance on the hit competition series, Dancing With The Stars, where she finished second. Lasting until the season finale gave her the added exposure it takes to help make or enhance a rising star. And now WWE wants to capitalize on all of that crossover success.
As if VanZant’s successful run on DWTS, commitment to UFC and potential courtship from the WWE weren’t enough for her plate, Paige is also slated to begin filming for a role in the movie, Kickboxer: Retaliation, which will be the sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance. VanZant will join Jean-Claude Van Damme, Batista, and Mike Tyson, among other notables from the fighting world in the star-studded cast.
At the moment, there is only one prominent women’s feud going on in the WWE. The WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte, recently dumped her father, Ric Flair, as a way to get out from under his shadow and shine on her own. But it appears as if they are heading towards a tag team match for Money In The Bank that would see Charlotte team up with her new protege, Dana Brooke, against the pairing of Natalya and Becky Lynch. There were some unsubstantiated rumors that quickly subsided around the idea of a women’s Money in the Bank ladder match happening at the show, but that clearly has not materialized.
What will be interesting to follow is if WWE does go through with bringing in Paige Van Zant (and potentially other UFC stars) what then becomes of the rumored Charlotte and Sasha Banks feud? Sasha has been off TV since suffering a concussion, and original plans slated her to feud temporarily with Summer Rae until the timing was right for her to go after Charlotte. But if the UFC vs WWE angle goes down in August, that whole concept of Sasha running with the title might be delayed again.
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