The film gained controversy over its film title, which was disputed by film director Wong Kar-wai, who announced plans to make his own film on Ip Man with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai while filming 2046. Wong Kar-wai had planned his own Yip Man biopic titled The Great Master (一代宗师), with Leung in the lead role. Wong Kar-Wai's film, however, had been in development hell, having been announced several years earlier. Producer Raymond Wong wanted to name his film Grandmaster Yip Man, which bore a resemblance to the title Wong Kar-Wai wanted to use for his film.
After Raymond Wong announced his title, Wong Kar-wai's production company, Jet Tone Films, issued a statement saying that they had exclusive rights to the Chinese title of the film and that it is "shameful" that Raymond Wong was using it. They also denied Donnie Yen's claim that ten years ago, Wong Kar-wai and Jeffrey Lau asked him to play Ip Man.
To settle the dispute, Raymond Wong publicly expressed the film title:
“Actually, all along, we have called our film Ip Man, but our mainland investors said that Yip Man was a great master of his times, so we changed our title to Grandmaster Yip Man out of respect for him. Yet, this brought about a series of debates over the title. To settle this matter amicably, after discussions with our various investors, movie consultant Yip Chun, and director Wilson Yip, we changed back to our original title.”
It was later announced that Wong Kar-wai's five-year rights to make the Ip Man biopic had expired and that Mandarin Films had stepped in with their film.