Manager Paul Heyman believes Brock Lesnar’s health condition hindered him from reaching his full potential in the UFC.
Brock Lesnar was the first big name in the WWE to make the transition into the UFC. It proved to be a successful one, to say the least, when he managed to win the world heavyweight title after just three fights with the company.
His MMA career was hampered by a bout with diverticulitis in 2009, after his maiden title defense and rematch against fellow former champion Frank Mir. After being sidelined for a year, he returned in July 2010 to defeat then-interim champion Shane Carwin.
Lesnar dropped the title to Cain Velasquez three months later, and was never the same again when he faced Alistair Overeem more than a year later, after being struck with a second case of diverticulitis.
Lesnar was considered as a physical specimen by many during his UFC run. But according to his manager Paul Heyman, the recurring health problems became a deterrent for him to reach his full potential in the UFC, and in his previous ventures as an athlete.
“I would suggest that Brock is really now in his physical prime because he was robbed of reaching his full potential as an athlete in his 20’s and early 30’s by diverticulitis,” Heyman said on the Fight Society podcast (via FOX Sports). “If you look back at his career, by the time he was in the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, he was already suffering from diverticulitis.”
“His body, which was so fine tuned and he had done so much to train his body to accomplish the goals he had envisioned for himself, his body was suppressing and using up so much energy and so much of his strength and his ability to suppress the diverticulitis, and finally diverticulitis couldn’t be suppressed. He probably had it throughout his entire college career.”
“So you never saw him at his full potential in college,” he continued. “You never saw him at his full potential in his first run in WWE. He went into the Minnesota Vikings camp not only with the diverticulitis inside of his system but a broken jaw and a fractured pelvis, which he covered in the book that we wrote together and then you never saw him, not once did you see him in UFC at his absolute physical peak.”
The 39-year-old Lesnar made another MMA run last July at UFC 200. After winning a dominant unanimous decision verdict against Mark Hunt, results were overturned to a no contest when he tested positive for clomiphene, a banned substance.
In mid-February, Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA. But according to Heyman, those doors are not yet fully closed.
“I think what’s next for Brock Lesnar besides what’s happening in WWE, could it be UFC? Could it be another sport? I think it’s something that he’s going to look at and say ‘I bet no one thinks I can do that,” Heyman said. “All right, I’m going to conquer that.’”
“Besides obviously the greatest payday of his life, it’s the same thing that’s motivating [Conor] McGregor into wanting to fight [Floyd] Mayweather because … I’d have to say a great deal (is obviously) the lure of the enormous payday but a lot of it (is also) the lure of ‘you know what people don’t think I can (beat Mayweather) … and I can!”