Monday March 9, 2015– The question is not whether Brock Lesnar could still compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he clearly could. His contract is coming to an end with the WWE and as a free agent he would be available to sign with whomever he chooses. No, instead the question is “Can Brock Lesnar still be competitive in the UFC?”
In 2008, Brock Lesnar entered the UFC’s Octagon for the first time to face off against former champion, Frank Mir. Lesnar, the former NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion was 1-0 in his Mixed Martial Arts career and fans were unsure if the former professional wrestler could use his legitimate amateur credentials to hang with a high level fighter such as Mir.
And from the opening bell, Lesnar showed everyone that he was for real… Well, sort of.
After dominating much of the fight, a questionable standup from referee, Steve Mazzagatti took Brock Lesnar out of what I like to call his “Honkey Kong” ground and pound position. After taking Frank Mir to the mat again, Brock was eventually submitted via knee bar.
What showed in this fight though is that Brock Lensar was, despite his inexperience, a dangerous super athlete with unparalleled strength and power. Simply put, he was a beast.
In his next three fights, Brock Lesnar showed the world what an athlete of his caliber could do with the proper training. He first dispatched of heavyweight mainstay, Heath Herring, sending the ‘Texas Crazy Horse” into retirement via an embarrassingly one-sided decision.
He would win the title in his next match against Randy Couture, and then would defend it in a rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100 in what is still the most watched Pay Per View in the company’s history. Brock Lesnar was the biggest star of the biggest division in the biggest promotion in the sport. He was on top of the world… until he wasn’t.
Lesnar was struck down with diverticulitis before his next scheduled bout with Shane Carwin, and then again after losing his title to Cain Velasquez a year later. Brock would have a major surgery to remove a portion of his large intestine.
After a devastating loss to Alistair Overeem in 2011, Brock Lesnar retired from the sport of MMA, which brings us up to date.
At 37 years old, and having been away from the sport for 4 years, a lot of familiar questions surround Lesnar now as when he first entered the sport in 2007. How will he handle the skill of today’s fighters? How much has he trained for the sport? As well as new questions such as how will his health hold up? Is he just in this for a paycheck?
Unfortunately, I think there is another question that will have to be answered. How will a muscular hulk coming from the world of professional wrestling handle the UFC’s new out of competition drug testing policy?
Brock Lesnar is undeniably a huge star, but could he still hang with the top 15 of today’s UFC Heavyweight division? That remains to be seen. What is for sure is that when/if it does happen, there will be no shortage of people to see it, so even if he loses, the fans still win.
BY: MICHAEL GILMAN