Athletes & Celebrities

Becky Lynch on Being Challenged By Cris Cyborg, Her Storied Career, and Her Love of CrossFit

Plus, her thoughts on the Mae Young Classic.

Becky Lynch
Courtesy WWE.com

The Irish Lass-Kicker isn't one to back down.

As someone who is often credited as one of the main catalysts of WWE's women's revolution, Becky Lynch has consistently proven to be a force to be reckoned with on Smackdown Live. As a result, it should probably be no surprised that she's gained the attention of MMA fighter Cris Cyborg, who went as far as to issue an open challenge to Lynch on Twitter. Whether or not that match will happen is currently anyone's guess.

We had a chance to talk to Lynch shortly before SummerSlam to discuss Cyborg's challenge, her career, and how she stays in shape on the road.

M&F: Let's get the biggest question out of the way: How do you feel about Cris Cyborg calling you out for a match at SummerSlam?

Becky Lynch: I think it's great. I think it's great that one of the premier female athletes in the UFC and mixed martial arts today, as soon as she won her championship, called me out.

 As someone who solely has a sports entertainment background, would it be intimidating to face someone more versed in like Muay Thai kickboxing? Or do you welcome that sort of challenge?

Oh, I welcome that challenge! I think it's really awesome that she is looking at our product and wanting to engage in it. I feel like people who have seen what we, as the women have done, and how we've developed the sport, and made it such a main part of the show, and something that people are so invested in, that she wants a piece of the pie. But we spend all of our time cooking the pie, so we're keeping it for ourselves. [Laughs]

You've been in sports entertainment on and off since you were 15. Why do you feel you're still in the business 15 years later? Is it crazy to look back at your career from when you started?

I'll tell you what, it's crazy to be back in. But it feels less because, I don't know if you knew this, but I actually left the business for seven years.  When I left, it was because I didn't think that what we we're doing...what I'm doing now, was possible then. And this is what I wanted, and this is all I really wanted. I spent those seven years out in the wilderness, trying every little thing that I possibly could be interested in. Everything under the sun. I didn't have the passion for anything the way that it is for sports entertainment. When I came back, it was just the perfect time with the perfect group of people. I feel really blessed that things worked out the way that they did. 

 I imagine it was a very much a case of being at the right place at the right time, considering NXT [WWE's developmental branch] was just created.

Absolutely. Absolutely. They couldn't have been better. Coming back, having left for seven years, and trying to rebuild that confidence, and trying to find yourself and everything, I just had the perfect group of people, and the most amazing facility to do that and to grow. Then Finn Balor came in, and he's the person who trained me in the first place, and to be right there with him at the same time, it was all a little bit...almost cosmic.

I interviewed Charlotte a few weeks ago, and since you're good friends with her, I just wanted to ask you the same question I asked her: Since both of you are the same brand, you've fought in the ring many times, do you ever find it difficult to compete against a close friend? Or do you actually prefer that sort of challenge?

I prefer it, because they're...what I think is so great about us is that we're incredibly competitive. We're the best of friends, but we're also very competitive, which makes us be better, every time, no matter what we're doing. It makes us lift more, it makes us go faster when we're training. Then also, it makes us want to get the best out of each other in the ring. Yeah, well also, we're also not scared of offending each other, or hurting one another's feelings, because it's like a sisterhood.

It probably doesn't surprise you she said the same thing.

[Laughs]

What was your reaction to the Mae Young Classic? Did you get the chance to watch any of it so far?

I was there, and it was incredible. It was so good and...I've been on the independents with a lot of those women that had made it there, and to see that they had stuck with it consistently, and that they were getting their due rewards, was amazing. It made me so happy. It made me so happy to see the crowd interaction with them. They loved it. They never tired, and they were so invested in every single one of these characters. Women just poured their heart and soul into it, and you could see how much they cared and how passionate they were. That's what we need. I keep talking about...that we need women's championships, we need a women's tournament. That is all in the sight line now, and that's all very possible. There's so many women that I saw, that I would love to be in the ring against. 

I just talked to Triple H about the event, and he said it was really about giving women the opportunity to make a name for themselves that may have not had otherwise. 

Yep. Absolutely. That made me really happy. Mercedes Martinez was somebody that I knew from the independents, and Nicole Matthews, who actually didn't have a match on the TV taping...she hasn't done as much, and being able to see her and perform...I actually watched her first match. So it's crazy. Just seeing the distance that people have come, and that they're getting seen. The crowd is reacting so well to them. That's what makes me happy.

I've talked to a number of superstars about how they stay in shape on the road. Some, like Charlotte and Nattie, said that they stick to a rigid schedule. Others have said that they don't really have a set routine, that they just make sure to put in the work whenever they can. So I was wondering what your approach was to this?

I do CrossFit, and I have a great trainer who programs me. He's the same trainer Seth Rollins has for Crossfit.

I was just going to say, you probably got some tips from Seth.

Yeah, so we have the same trainer, and actually what...so I'll train five, six times a week. What I love about CrossFit is that we're always on the go, right? So we're always, you know...we might be tired or we might be feeling banged up or whatever, [but] CrossFit, it always makes you push yourself. So even if you're not able to give 100% effort, you're still getting a great workout, and you're getting your heart rate up. I'm lifting what resembles what we do in the ring, so like CrossFit. At the moment we have this five-week open CrossFit workout, where all of us that do CrossFit in WWE are competing against each other. We all donate $100 each, and then the winner will give it to a charity of their choice. So it's myself, Seth Rollins, Bayley was in it before she got injured, so now Sasha's in it to take her place, Roderick Strong, Noam Dar. It's really cool, it's really cool.

So along those lines, what do you do as far as diet is concerned?

So, diet, that I always find is...that part is a little bit trickier being on the road, than when we are at home. So when I'm at home, I'm able to measure everything, and you have 3oz of chicken, and 50g of rice, and whatever it was. Now, it's a little bit trickier, but I will make sure that my diet's clean constantly. Charlotte and I will try and find meal prep places on the road. Or I'll bring a cooler bag with some meals for the first few days and then we'll go to Whole Foods and stock up on chicken, rice, vegetables. I just, kind of, try to keep it simple. 

SummerSlam will stream live around the world Sunday, August 20 at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network.

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