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Conor McGregor Is the Perfect Choice for Wolverine’s Nemesis in the MCU

Conor McGregor Is the Perfect Choice for Wolverine's Nemesis in the MCU

Prime Video’s Road House, a remake of the 1989 film of the same name, has caused quite a stir. Originally, the film was embroiled in some controversy following director Doug Liman’s decision not to promote the movie after the studio opted to release it on streaming as opposed to theaters; the movie has now arrived and received mixed reactions from critics and audiences. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, but much of the attention has been paid to UFC Fighting champion Conor McGregor, who is making his feature film debut.

McGregor is an Irish mixed martial artist and boxer. He is the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight and Lightweight Champion, making him the first UFC fighter to hold the championship in two different weight classes, making him one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts and a major star in the world of competitive sports.

Like other former athletes, he now looks to be turning his attention to film. Given his history as a professional fighter and his performance in Road House, and with Marvel Studios seeming to be setting up the X-Men as a major part of the MCU in the near future, McGregor’s rise now seems the perfect time for him to take on the role of Wolverine’s arch-enemy: Sabretooth.

Who Is Sabretooth?

Despite being commonly associated with Wolverine and the X-Men, Sabretooth actually originated in Iron Fist #14. Real name Victor Creed, Sabretooth was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and was originally a non-powered serial killer. Claremont would later bring the character over into his successful X-Men run in 1986 during the Mutant Massacre storyline and make him a mutant, giving him the powers of rapid healing, super strength, and razor-sharp claws and teeth. He also tied him to various characters, including Mystique and Magneto, both most notably Wolverine. Much like Wolverine, Sabretooth’s past remains shrouded in mystery.

Sabretooth’s connections to Wolverine in the comics have changed many times. Chris Claremont originally intended for him to be Wolverine’s father, but that idea never materialized. In the comic Origins, the character of Dog Logan, Wolverine’s half-brother, had many similarities to Sabretooth, but that was never confirmed in the comic, and later established they were two separate characters. Yet the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine does mix Dog Logan and Victor Creed into one character and makes him Wolverine’s full brother.

The one element that does seem to connect Sabretooth and Wolverine is the fact that they were both part of the Weapon X program. Sabretooth has been part of many teams over the years, including the Brotherhood of Mutants, Mister Sinister’s Mauraders, and X-Factor, and even joined the proper X-Men team. Sabretooth is a complex character and one of the most famous villains in the Marvel Universe, one that will likely cause a great deal of excitement when he finally joins the MCU.

Related: How the MCU Initially Sabotaged the X-Men

Why McGregor Would be a Great Sabretooth

McGregor, being a professional boxer and mixed martial artist, is very similar to the first actor to play Sabretooth. In 2000’s X-Men, WWE wrestler Tyler Mane was cast as Sabretooth. Standing at 6ft 9, Mane had the large, imposing nature to play Sabretooth, which countered the fact that Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman actor was 6ft 3. While McGregor is certainly shorter, at 5ft 8, Marvel Studios will most likely go with a shorter actor to play Wolverine to both match the comic book version and distinguish themselves from Jackman’s iconic role.

McGregor’s skills and history as both a boxer and mixed martial artist are what really sells him as Sabretooth. Sabretooth is one of the best-armed combatants in the Marvel Universe, being a fierce fighter and one quick to attack with a fury that matches McGregor’s fighting style.

With fears of superhero fatigue hitting, the MCU will need to find a way to draw audiences back in and feature fights that put an emphasis on more practical stunts, and fight choreography has been a strong selling point for films like John Wick and the upcoming Monkey Man. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings received a great deal of praise for the martial arts action and how great star Simu Liu was at the action, one has to imagine how great McGregor would lend himself to the hand-to-hand combat of Sabretooth vs Wolverine or any other mutant in the X-Men franchise.

Related: Wolverine Movies in Order: How to Watch the X-Men Character Chronologically and By Release Date

Factors Working Against McGregor

While McGregor might, on paper, seem like a strong fit for Sabretooth, there are a few factors working against him. Things like height are a minor factor, because while he might be bigger than whoever plays Wolverine, Marvel Studios likely wants someone who is taller as Sabretooth to be a towering figure to other heroes. They also might want a more skilled, trained actor. While Tyler Mane originated the role of Sabretooth, the role was largely a henchman. When it came time for a more fleshed-out character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, they cast actor Liev Schrieber.

There are plenty of tall actors who also have the training and could do martial arts training, from Alexander Skarsgård to Henry Cavill, who could play Sabretooth. Notably, for Marvel Studios’ biggest villains, they tend to go with respected actors. So far, the only major athletes cast as MCU villains are UFC mixed martial artist Georges St-Pierre as Batroc the Leaper in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WWE fighter Seth Rollins in an undisclosed role for Captain America: Brave New World.

The real big factor working against McGregor is whether Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company would want to court the controversy that tends to follow the star. McGregor has multiple arrests stemming from driving offenses to various physical brawls, which include allegedly assaulting Italian musician Francesco Facchinetti in 2021 and one as recently as January 2023, where he was accused of assaulting a 42-year-old woman aboard his yacht.

McGregor also has multiple sexual assault allegations against him. The first was said to have taken place at a hotel in Dublin in December 2018, with a second allegation in October 2019. In June 2023, McGregor allegedly sexually assaulted a woman the previous night in a restroom at the Miami Heat arena after game four of the NBA Finals, according to a report by the Miami Police. McGregor has denied all incidents, and in October 2023, the case regarding the incident in Miami was dropped.

With all of that, McGregor might be more trouble than he is worth for Marvel Studios. After the very public trial of star Jonathan Majors following his assault case, which resulted in him being fired from the role of Kang the Conqueror from future MCU projects, Marvel Studios likely wants to try and avoid more future casting controversies. Sabretooth could be a one-off villain or a major recurring antagonist, but Marvel Studios would likely want to avoid any bad press by casting McGregor, whose life outside the arena certainly could impact the films.

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