The MMA and professional wrestling community was shocked when the UFC announced that Brock Lesnar would be making his return to the Octagon during Saturday’s UFC 199 pay-per-view. Even UFC color commentator Joe Rogan didn’t see it coming.
Lesnar, who officially retired from mixed-martial-arts in the spring of 2015, apparently agreed to return to the UFC this past April, after Conor McGregor was pulled from the UFC 200 card, and reports that he was in negotiations with the UFC didn’t start coming out until just hours before the UFC 199 pay-per-view.
When Lesnar made his initial return to WWE back in 2012, there was a clause in his contract that would’ve allowed him to return to the UFC for a fight with Fedor Emelianenko, and at one point, that fight was close to happening, but Fedor ultimately decided to retire from the sport.
Apparently when Lesnar re-signed with WWE last spring, he still wanted a clause in his contract that would allow him to do a one-off fight in the UFC, which is why WWE is allowing him to fight at UFC 200 next month.
As for who Lesnar’s opponent will be, well, that has yet to be announced. But, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, we won’t have to wait very long to find out who the ex-UFC Heavyweight Champion will be squaring off with at UFC 200, as Lesnar’s opponent will likely be revealed on Monday’s SportsCenter.
“It’s a one-shot deal, and Lesnar’s opponent will probably be announced on Monday night on ESPN is what I’m hearing. At the press-conference, they didn’t say anything about it other than that there will be something breaking in the next 48 to 72 hours, which coincides with what I just said.”
There have been a lot of people speculating about who Lesnar’s opponent will be at UFC 200, and Frank Mir’s name has come up a lot. But, that fight can’t happen, because Mir is currently under suspension.
Mark Hunt has also been talked about as a potential opponent for Lesnar, and while that fight is possible, it’s not the greatest match-up for Lesnar, as Hunt is one of, if not the most dangerous striker in the heavyweight division.
One name that hasn’t come up yet is the aforementioned Fedor Emelianenko, which probably suggests that Lesnar won’t be facing Fedor upon his UFC return.
It’s been nearly five years since we last saw Lesnar compete inside the Octagon, and he didn’t fare too well in his last fight against Alistair Overeem, as he was knocked out in the very first round.
For whatever reason, Overeem has been very public about the fact that he wants a rematch with Brock Lesnar, but, that rematch isn’t likely to happen at UFC 200 because Overeem is set to fight Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight Title this coming September. It’ll be Overeem’s first crack at UFC gold.
There’s a chance that the UFC could just bring in a low-level heavyweight to fight Lesnar, but that wouldn’t be well-received by the UFC fans. But, the mentality could be that both wrestling and MMA fans will buy UFC 200 to see Lesnar fight, regardless of who his opponent is.
It’s possible that Lesnar’s fight ends up being the co-main-event of UFC 200 over both the Women’s Bantamweight Title fight between Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate, and the interim Featherweight Title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. But, as of right now, that hasn’t been decided yet.
As of today, the UFC 200 card looks like this:
- Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
- Brock Lesnar vs. TBD
- Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar [interim Featherweight Title]
- Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes [Women’s Bantamweight Title]
- Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier [Light Heavyweight Title]
[Image via Eric Jamison/AP Images]