There was a large dose of heavyweight fighters on display at the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) 146, and one of them caused quite a stir. The presence of retired heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in the front row immediately conjured questions on whether he would come back to the UFC. The heat got turned up even more when UFC president Dana White confirmed that he did indeed have a meeting with Lesnar.
Lesnar would undoubtedly be a huge ratings draw and give the UFC a needed jolt as it pushes its way into mainstream sports. His addition would be great for publicity, but where does Lesnar really fit into the heavyweight picture? Is he a journeyman, a gatekeeper, a contender or a one-and-done paycheck?
Even though he retired on a two-fight losing streak, he is still being considered for the UFC Hall of Fame. If he wants to keep his standing and his legacy intact, he might want to stay put. However, that has never been Lesnar’s style.
When he first entered the Octagon, the heavyweight cupboard was bare. Because of his skill and his star power, Lesnar quickly got a title shot against Randy Couture at UFC 91. He won the title in the second round with a technical knockout.
Since winning the title, however, the landscape of the heavyweight division has changed. It is now filled with devastating strikers with excellent takedown defenses, which seems to be a weakness for Lesnar. Combined with his age, time off and his bouts with diverticulitis, it would appear that Lesnar has his work cut out for him if he hopes to return to the UFC.
To be successful, Lesnar will have to ease back into the fold. He will also have to work with an elite striking coach. This is no news flash, but Shane Carwin, in a losing effort, laid out the blueprint on how to beat Lesnar at UFC 116. Lesnar won on that hot summer night in Las Vegas, but the word was out on what it would take to defeat him. Lesnar lost his next two fights by technical knockout in the first round.
Make no mistake about it, Lesnar is, and has always been, a threat to the heavyweight division. He has never been one to settle for an easy fight, which is a good thing because there are none in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
If Lesnar does make a return, some suitable opponents for his first fight back would be Travis Browne, Stefan Struve, Antonio Silva, Frank Mir, Daniel Cormier or Roy Nelson. Mir vs. Lesnar III would be interesting, but it’s too obvious. Nelson, however, is a huge name in the mixed martial arts world. He is the “The Ultimate Fighter” (TUF) season 10 winner, former International Fight League (IFL) heavyweight champion and three-time Knockout of the Night UFC award-winner. Nelson has also been asking, if not begging, to fight Lesnar. This would be a great match-up and an intriguing fight for the fans.
All in all, it will be interesting to see what Lesnar and the UFC have up their collective sleeve. Whatever it might be, as long as Lesnar is involved, it’s definitely going to be entertaining.