UFC 200 lost what was supposed to be a Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz rematch extravaganza. Instead, the UFC 200 card will showcase the return of Brock Lesnar, going up against No. 8 heavyweight Mark Hunt from Australia, along with the long-awaited rematch of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Even though Conor has fallen out of sorts with UFC management, he will still appear at UFC 202, and he may even have a boxing career in his future if Floyd Mayweather finally lures him into the ring.
WWE releases statement on Brock Lesnar’s ‘one-off’ opportunity to fight at UFC 200 on… – https://t.co/oAxcpy1CAp pic.twitter.com/cqrJPaW8Iy
— Strike Nation (@StrikeNation_) June 6, 2016
Brock Lesnar won’t go through as strict a drug testing process as other UFC fighters are required to go through upon his surprise return. This is probably either because he wouldn’t pass all tests anyway, or because the UFC doesn’t want to wait to have him fight. Nonetheless, Mark Hunt is willing to fight the legend and hopes to get win 13 by spoiling his welcome back party. Lesnar left the UFC after two losses, and he attributes his struggles in the octagon to his struggles with the illness diverticulitis. Despite this, he was once the holder of the heavyweight title belt in the UFC. He returns claiming that he has nothing to prove to others, but only to himself.
Brock told Fox Sports why he felt the need to return.
“If there’s anything for me out of this, somewhere deep down in my soul do I want to extinguish some bad feelings or the last two times I had in the Octagon that weren’t in my favor? As an athlete, I think everybody goes through that but unfortunately for me, I really feel like I got beat by diverticulitis.”
So Brock wants to return at UFC 200 and prove that neither man nor disease can hold him down. He comes in the midst of a thriving wrestling career in the WWE, so money and fame aren’t his primary motivations. He is supposed to return to his WWE career after the fight, joining WWE SummerSlam. Brock was a huge draw for the UFC before his retirement. He made the company tons of cash via pay-per-view subscribers, being a part of some of the most popular UFC pay-per-view matches ever. UFC 200 really needed a draw like him after dumping Conor McGregor’s fight.
— TheWrap (@TheWrap) June 7, 2016
McGregor and the UFC will be together once again by UFC 202, where Conor will finally get back into the octagon to try to redeem himself after his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. He will try to prove he can jump weight classes and win, and prove that skill is more important than how heavy you are. The way Nate Diaz absorbed McGregor’s punches without flinching will mean McGregor will have to come back a whole new fighter that can bring the pain to the big boys if he hopes to win the welterweight fight.
But McGregor and Lesnar have both held the status of most popular fighters in the UFC. They are both perhaps equal among male fighters in drawing viewers to the sport. Lesnar doesn’t usually talk trash and is the type to let his abilities explain it all, so when he was asked about Conor McGregor, he stayed rather neutral in his response.
But when asked about his own legacy, he isn’t all that humble. He told ESPN what makes him valuable to both the WWE and the UFC after the channel speculated if Brock is building a bridge for other athletes to cross between wrestling and mixed martial arts.
“You can make all the correlations you want to the people you just stated, but none of them have ever main-evented and sold pay-per-views and put *sses in the seats like Brock Lesnar. There is nobody. That’s why this is happening.”
That pretty much sums up UFC 200. A lot of eyes will be watching to see if Brock Lesnar still has it in him and if this was even a good idea.
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