Brock Lesnar is a force of nature. The man is signed to the biggest wrestling organization and the largest MMA promotion on earth, at the same time, yet he only works about 5 days a year to get paid more than most people in either organization will in their entire careers. Brock Lesnar’s net worth is through the roof because he is just a freak athlete who has managed to fight his way to the top wherever he goes.
Brock Lesnar’s first run in the UFC saw him beating the champion and winning the belt, and getting wins over some very legitimate opponents, even though he had extremely limited MMA experience. He was fed to the wolves, and he became the leader of the pack. Health issues put his MMA career on hold for years, but with the UFC’s biggest event just around the corner, Brock is making a massive comeback and nobody saw it coming.
The news that Brock Lesnar was returning to the UFC was announced during their most recent Pay Per View, during a commercial for UFC 200. The commercial showed a quick profile of all the big names who will be fighting, then faded to black, but then for a split second you saw Brock. That was the big reveal. Even Joe Rogan was caught off guard, although anyone who follows MMA news online had a heads up that this was going to happen – which resulted in some huge alleged temper tantrums by the UFC’s owners. In any case, it is real, it is going to happen and fans hope it stands up to all of the hype surrounding it. Here are 15 things you need to know about Brock’s return to the UFC and how big it will be.
15. MMA’s Top Journalist Banned For Life
Ariel Helwani is widely considered to be the top journalist in all of MMA. His connections are able to help him leak some of the biggest news, including Brock’s comeback and the fact that Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz are having a rematch soon. He gives the UFC tons of free coverage, but he gets on their nerves because he has been advocating for fighters – which the UFC takes as an attack on the company.
After Ariel broke the news of Brock’s comeback shortly before the UFC was able to make their huge announcement, taking a lot of the wind out of the their sails, Ariel was asked to leave the event he was currently watching. He missed out on seeing Michael Bisping win the belt from Luke Rockhold, and was told that he was banned for life from covering any UFC events in person. Ariel went into more details about some of the personal attacks that Dana White made towards him and didn’t hold anything back. Ultimately, he was re-instated with his media credentials and will continue to do his job, and will continue to do it very well. A huge outpouring of support from not just the MMA media, but from mainstream sports networks, likely had a huge influence on the UFC deciding to do the right thing here.
14. The UFC Fought For Brock
Rumors of Brock’s return seem to be a yearly occurrence. It seemed like it was close to happening a year or two ago, but Brock decided to re-up his WWE contract instead. You can’t really blame him. We all know that wrestlers go through hell to train and perform, but Brock only has to show up a few times a year. If he was still fighting MMA, he would need to be training and sparring full time in between shows.
If there was ever a time for the UFC to pull out all the stops and do anything in their power to woo Brock Lesnar, it’s now. The card for UFC 200 is stacked, but having Brock was that one next-level fight that the UFC really needed to send this card into the stratosphere.
13. The UFC Needs Brock
Originally, Conor McGregor was set to headline UFC 200 in a rematch against Nate Diaz. Conor wanted to focus on training instead of going all-in on media obligations like he usually does to a sell a fight, but the UFC wanted all of his promotional pull. To prove a point, Conor announced his retirement over Twitter. It got more attention than Kobe’s retirement tweet, and Conor proved that he can get more media coverage with a single Tweet than any other fighter can get with a full whirlwind media tour.
Conor figured this would give him some leverage, but the UFC wasn’t willing to play ball, so they just removed him from the biggest card altogether. The UFC 200 lineup has always been stacked, but the UFC wanted something legendary for this card. UFC 100 was another huge card. To give you some perspective, Jon Jones was on the undercard for that event. GSP was there, and so was Brock. The UFC certainly tried to get GSP back for UFC 200, but ended up hitting the hail mary with Brock, instead. UFC 200 would have been great either way, but having Brock fighting Mark Hunt makes it amazing.
12. Vince Is Only Letting Brock Fight In The UFC Once
Brock only has a one-fight deal with the UFC, which further proves how desperate the UFC was to have his name on the UFC 200 card. The WWE is giving Brock the hall pass for a one-and-done fight in MMA, and still expects Brock to show up at Summerslam shortly after.
You can bet that the UFC made Brock a massive offer to get him on the card. It was an amount that he simply couldn’t turn down. At the end of the day, it was up to Vince McMahon as to whether or not Brock could get a special exemption to his contract. There had to have been something in it for the WWE besides the extra promotion of having Brock show up at the biggest UFC show ever. More on that in a minute…
11. Brock Lesnar’s MMA Career Was Cut Short
Brock has said that if it wasn’t for his diverticulitis, he might have been fighting in the UFC this whole time. The belt has already changed hands a few times since Brock lost it to Cain Velasquez, but we can only imagine that with Brock in the mix he’d have a good shot of getting it back at some point. Anything can happen in the heavyweight division, and it usually does.
Not to mention the fact that Brock would have many more years of MMA training under his belt. He wouldn’t just be a force of nature, he could possibly be in talks as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Imagine Brock, with his insane size and strength, and wrestling abilities, with a strong striking and BJJ game on top? He’d be damn near unstoppable.
10. WWE Will Want A Huge Return
The WWE is doing the UFC a huge favor by giving Brock Lesnar some wiggle-room in his contract, but it’s probably not an entirely benevolent move. Chances are that the WWE is going to be expecting some huge return. It’s only fair, right?
Ronda Rousey made huge headlines when she made her appearance alongside The Rock at Wrestlemania, but she didn’t actually wrestle a match because she was under contract with the UFC. Now that the WWE has extended the olive branch and allowed Brock to moonlight in the UFC, the WWE will most likely want a big-name MMA fighter to co-promote. It could be Ronda Rousey, it could be Chael Sonnen, it could be Conor McGregor… there’s a lot of speculation, and time will tell.
The UFC has a lot of personalities who would do great over in pro wrestling, so it’s really a toss up. Brock is the golden boy over at WWE, and the biggest possible name the UFC could get for UFC 200, so chances are the UFC will owe another huge name in return, and there aren’t that many names to draw from. New rumors suggest that Paige Van Zant could be the UFC fighter who appears in the WWE next, fresh off of her 2nd place finish on Dancing With the Stars.
9. It Takes Two To Tango
Brock Lesnar isn’t going in there alone, he’s going to be sharing the Octagon with a fighter named Mark Hunt, who is pretty much a legend of combat sports in his own right. Just for some context, when Fedor (another legendary heavyweight) announced his return to MMA, he got a lot of criticism for the less experienced opponents he’s been fighting, likely for tune-up fights and to try to build some hype. Brock, on the other hand, is being put in there with one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC.
Mark Hunt has been fighting for a very long time, and is much more dangerous and skilled than his record would suggest. He took some time to adapt to MMA, but he’s taken down some of the biggest names in heavyweight history, and he’s looking to add Brock to that list. It’s a win-win for the UFC. Either Brock comes back for one fight and pulls off a big win to the delight of all the WWE fans who will be tuning in, or the entire world witnesses the UFC’s Mark Hunt as he takes down Lesnar and makes a huge name for himself (not that he doesn’t already have a big name, but beating Brock on such a huge stage would be a huge victory for Hunt).
8. Mark Hunt Has An Obsessed Japanese Fan
Mark Hunt appeals to fans because he’s down to earth, calls it like he sees it, and just seems like a really fun guy. Also, he’s a great fighter and has that underdog-who-pulls-it-off appeal to him. He has certainly attracted some very unique fans. He has fought in Japan a lot, and along the way he managed to pick up a unique Japanese fan named HASSY. This fan has dedicated a lot of their time to drawing … interesting pictures of Mark Hunt. Most MMA art involves recreating epic battles and famous moments, but HASSY creates her own scenarios, like laying in a bed of leaves next to Mark Hunt. Here’s a conversation between the two from Twitter:
HASSY: When you come back to Japan and I can meet you,…I would like to walk along the beach together….
Mark Hunt: thissss guyyy bro I am married
7. The Total Age Of These Two Fighters Is 80-Years Old
Mark Hunt is 42 years young, and Brock Lesnar is 38. Add that up, and you’ve got 80 years old, which is considerably older than the average total age between two fighters, but not completely out there when you’re looking at heavyweights, where fighters tend to be able to stick around longer.
The reason that the heavyweight is older on average, and has older guys continuing to fight very competitively, is because fighting at HW is less dependent on speed. In the lighter weight classes, where guys don’t have the same KO power, speed is an essential tool. Speed is the first thing to go as a fighter gets older, so naturally the lighter weight classes will be less forgiving as fighters age.
6. Brock Lesnar Is A Freak Athlete
When he competed in NCAA Wrestling, Brock Lesnar won the Division I heavyweight division and was an All-American. He won rookie of the year in the UFC in 2008 before going on to win the belt. He excelled in pro wrestling.
Brock even made it on as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL, before being cut prior to the 2004-2005 season. Nonetheless, even making it that far in the NFL is a huge accomplishment. The NFL is home to some of the most elite athletes on the planet.
5. Brock Lesnar Used To Be The UFC Champion
Some people might not realize just how well Brock Lesnar did in the UFC. It wasn’t just a publicity stunt to cash in like CM Punk’s upcoming fight will likely end up; Brock was a legitimate contender who actually went on to hold the belt for longer than anyone else in UFC history save for one man, but we’ll cover that more in-depth in a couple of minutes.
Brock won the belt from Hall of Fame fighter Randy Couture, and then went on to defend it against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin before catching a couple losses in a row to Cain and Overeem. There’s no shame in losing to either of those guys, they’re both killers.
4. Mark Hunt Has Beaten Some Of The Top Fighters Of All Time
Hunt’s record is far from flawless, but simply looking at his win/loss stats doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Mark Hunt’s career MMA record is a patchy 12-10-1, but he’s still one of the top heavyweights in the game right now.
Hunt’s last 12 fights were all in the UFC, and his overall UFC record is 7 wins, 4 losses, and 1 draw. Before coming over to the UFC, Hunt hit a rough patch in the PRIDE and DREAM organizations in Japan. He fought a murderer’s row of guys including: Fedor, Overeem, Barnett, Mousasi, and more.
In the UFC, Hunt has wins over Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, title contender Ben Rothwell, and more. Before that, much earlier in his career, he won fights against guys like Cro Cop and Wanderlei, which is incredible.
3. Mark Hunt Has More Kickboxing Fights Than MMA Fights
Mark Hunt had a strong start to his MMA career, earning wins over guys like Wanderlei Silva and Cro Cop during his first 4 fights. He lost his first fight, then won five in a row against total killers, then went on to lose 6 fights in a row. That’s a really tough thing to take in as a fighter, especially when you’re getting up there in your mid thirties, but Hunto stayed in it and went on to put together another 4 wins in a row in the UFC. Since then, it’s been up and down, with Hunt usually losing a couple in a row, then winning a couple. He has wins over some incredible fighters, and losses as well, but that’s just kind of how the heavyweight division goes.
It took Mark a while to completely adapt to MMA after his kickboxing career, but in the autumn of his career in combat sports he’s really been putting it all together. Brock Lesnar has opened up as the favorite in betting, but keep in mind that Brock hasn’t fought in MMA for years, whereas Mark Hunt is a dangerous opponent for anybody on this planet.
2. Brock Lesnar Is The Only Person To Win The NCAA, WWE, And UFC Championships
There’s nobody else on the planet who can claim to have won championship matches in the NCAA, the WWE, and the UFC. Brock is just a monster athlete- he’s dipped his toes in a lot of different sports. When you have this level of athleticism, and the workhorse mentality of a college wrestler, there’s really nothing that can stand in your way. He’s the type of guy who could have dedicated himself to any sport and probably been one of the greats, so as fans of mixed martial arts and wrestling, we’re lucky that he chose the sports that we adore. Getting to see Brock come back years later for another UFC fight is a real treat for fans. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
1. Only One Person Has Been UFC Champion For Longer Than Brock Lesnar
Brock held the UFC belt for 707 days. Granted, he wasn’t actively fighting 3-4 times a year like some fighters, so it’s kind of a misleading statistic, but nonetheless – he has the second longest reign as UFC heavyweight champ. The heavyweight division in the UFC is notorious for being a very slow-moving division; that is to say that the belt doesn’t change hands very often nor do the champs fight very often.
Brock’s time out with diverticulitis is responsible for how long he technically held the belt. Brock won the belt when he smashed UFC legend Randy Couture at UFC 91 in 2008. He defended it twice against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin, until losing the belt to Cain Velasquez, who would go on to lose the belt during his first defense, only to win it back in 2012 before losing the belt to Fabricio Werdum in the summer of 2015.