When Brock Lesnar returned to MMA at UFC 200, most expected it to be a one-off fight; an opportunity for Lesnar to cash an enormous paycheck because the UFC was in dire straights to find a suitable draw for their summer tentpole event. Then, when Lesnar tested positive for clomiphene and was suspended by USADA, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Lesnar was done with legitimate fisticuffs. Turns out, you should never say never.
In recent months, rumors have begun circulating that Lesnar is itching to return to the UFC and is looking to make his jump back this summer after his contract with the WWE expires. UFC President Dana White has even said that he expects Lesnar to compete for the UFC in 2018. In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Lesnar’s long-time friend and wrestling “advocate,” Paul Heyman, says that the door is not closed for a Lesnar return to the UFC.
“I think Brock Lesnar does whatever Brock Lesnar wants to do,” said Heyman. “If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in UFC, Brock Lesnar will fight in UFC. If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in WWE, he will fight in WWE. Ask Braun Strowman, ask Randy Orton, ask ‘The Undertaker,’ Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do.”
Lesnar received a one-year suspension from USADA for his failed drug test at UFC 200. He would have been eligible to return to fighting in July 2017, but since Lesnar removed himself from the testing pool, his suspension was frozen until such time as he re-enters the pool. Lesnar still has six months left on his suspension so if he wanted to return this year, Lesnar would need to re-enter the pool fairly soon.
Should he make his return at the end of this year, Lesnar will be 41 years old and two years removed from legitimate competition. Of course, the last time Lesnar came out of retirement he had been away almost five years and still managed to defeat (at the time) a top 10 heavyweight in Mark Hunt. Heyman says that is, in part, because the time off is actually a blessing for MMA competition because it allows Lesnar to better take care of his body rather than suffer the rigors of continuous training camps and weight cuts.
“The time away actually makes him better because it gives his body gets a chance to heal,” said Heyman. “The problem with these UFC fighters – and they are all fantastic athletes, top of the line in the entire world – is that they wear their body’s down in these training camps. All these guys that are cutting weight are just destroying their own bodies. Brock Lesnar is probably the healthiest fighter to enter UFC if he decides to do that.”
Over the last few years, as the UFC has struggled to create enough marquee stars to draw big pay-per-view numbers, the largest fight promotion in the world has turned to re-enlisting the help of older stars to prop up major events. With the potential trilogy fight between Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz now seemingly inevitable, at least a Lesnar return carries with it the potential of regaining an elite heavyweight fighter, because, as Heyman says, Lesnar is in fact prepared to fight again.
“He’s always ready.”
Conor. Conor McGregor says he offered to face Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, will fight again.
Ali. Frankie Edgar’s manager, coach go off on ‘prostitute’ Conor McGregor’s latest comments.
Sage. Marc Diakiese on Sage Northcutt: ‘He’s probably asking Mr. Faber if he should take the fight.’
Laughing. Leslie Smith says recent UFC legal argument felt like they were ‘laughing’ at fighters.
After the Beat.
I cannot explain how pumped I am for this fight.
Ali being Ali.
The MMA Beat. Discussing Donald Cerrone’s legacy and Bellator’s poor ratings.
MMA Mad. An interview with Cortney Casey.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
What if instead you just defended your belt against one of the numerous viable challengers?
I am fighting again. Period. I am the best at this. I put my name forward to step in at UFC 222 to face Frankie Edgar when Max Holloway pulled out, but I was told there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need. I was excited about bouncing in last minute and taking out the final featherweight, without all the rest of the stuff that comes with this game. Please respect the insane amount of work outside the fight game that I have put in. On top of the fighting. I am here. It is on them to come and get me. Because I am here. Yours sincerely, The Champ Champ™
Remember, the UFC is a multi-billion dollar company.
@danawhite @ufc When are we gonna get some medical insurance? I kept my mouth shut last February when I tore my LCL 2 weeks before the Houston card and y’all never got me an MRI. Now I’m hittin up the local drug dealer for amoxicillin, c’mon man!! @SuckerPunchEnt @BrianButler_Au
— Justin Ledet (@JustinLedetMMA) February 22, 2018
I am sorry to hear you’re hurting. As a pro athlete your body and health is a priority and the company you perform for should be helping you. I sent a DM. To start changing this standard UFC practice you and your teammates can sign authorization cards at https://t.co/2ge9mLExJX
— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) February 22, 2018
Tito trying to get a bidding war going.
— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) February 22, 2018
— Terez Owens (@TerezOwens) February 22, 2018
This is incredibly cool.
— UFC (@ufc) February 23, 2018
The UFC knows that the time is right.
RT – if you want to see this fight next
FAV – if you want to see this fight next
COMMENT any letter, word, phrase, digit or symbol – if you want to see this fight next. pic.twitter.com/UhO6HiAZyJ
— UFC (@ufc) February 21, 2018
Conor should take this man up on his offer.
@TheNotoriousMMA if you are ever going to fight Khabib, let me know. We can work on techniques to defend all of his takedown attempts. Best of luck.
— Kyle Snyder (@Snyder_man45) February 22, 2018
Speaking of Khabib.
Let’s go @dc_mma DC what is it? This happen before his last fight in Boston #ufc220
Diaz bros gonna Diaz bro.
Hahahaha Joe Rogan spent two paragraphs praising the friendly and respectful brawl between Yancy and Cowboy, and Nick Diaz just said pic.twitter.com/9szuYV9mf2
— Andrew Pearson (@Vorpality) February 22, 2018
Not exactly a fight that gets the blood pumping.
It’s been two years since I’ve fought this man. The man, the myth, the living legend “Demetrious Johnson”. You’ve set the bar high not only for our division but the entire sport of MMA. I’ve become a better fighter because of you and I’m looking forward to returning the favor you gave me the last time we fought. Let’s do it. Patiently waiting to sign the contract. #johnsonvscejudo2 #themessenger #vamos #letsdoit
Staying on brand.
Nobody’s safe. #nerdbash2018
Usando de nuevo mi chaleco de peso (Buenas noticias pronto eee pero shhhhh ) #LOBOMMA #TeamGrasso #dearhardwork
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) February 22, 2018
Ronaldo Souza (25-5-1) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (14-3-1); UFC 224, May 12.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2001: Zuffa held their first event as owners of the UFC, UFC 30. The event was headlined by Tito Ortiz knocking out Evan Tanner with a slam to retain his light heavyweight title. In the co-main event, Jens Pulver was crowned the inaugural lightweight (then named bantamweight) champion by winning a unanimous decision over Caol Uno.
2013: The UFC held their first women’s fight when Ronda Rousey submitted Liz Carmouche at UFC 157.
Enjoy the fights this weekend and see y’all on Monday.
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.