In the last 24 hours fans of MMA and WWE had been hearing rumours that Brock Lesnar would be making a return to UFC, speculations rose from will he leave WWE? to who will he be fighting? This morning WWE answered at least one of those questions.
“Brock Lesnar remains under contract to WWE, however, he has been granted a one-off opportunity to compete at UFC 200. Following this milestone event on July 9, Brock will return to WWE for SummerSlam on Sunday, August 21, live on WWE Network” – WWE.com
Lesnar, was and still is considered one of the biggest draws in MMA history, with many crediting his appearances the reason why the buy rate of many UFC events were above that as predicted. He debuted at UFC 81 with a first-round submission loss to Frank Mir but then had four straight wins seizing the UFC heavyweight title in Nov. 2008 defeating Randy Couture via second-round TKO. During that time he avenged his debut loss by beating Frank Mir headling UFC 100 in July 2009 in the best-selling pay-per-view in all MMA history. Lesnar left UFC with a 5-3 professional record after he suffered a first-round technical knockout loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141, but on that night it was clear it wasn’t the same Lesnar who had been carving his own legacy in UFC due to a life-threatening battle with diverticulitis that ultimately led to him announcing his retirement following that loss.
There have been times when it looked as if Lesnar would have returned to UFC. UFC president Dana White stated in 2012 that Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko at Cowboys Stadium deal ultimately fell through after Emelianenko’s father passed away and the UFC even tried to re-sign him last year when his WWE contract was expiring, but he opted to return to WWE instead.
Looking back in October, during the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s podcast Lesnar did state he was very serious about coming back to the UFC and it was during this interview many fans realised a return to UFC was becoming a very realistic possibility.
“It wasn’t a bluff, I felt robbed by diverticulitis. I felt robbed by being sick. I was feeling good and it took me a couple years to start feeling good. I’m at home, I’m working out, my life is great, everything’s in tune, my contract’s coming to an end with WWE, hey it’s been a great time but something’s missing.
I was up front and totally honest with the company and told them I’m really thinking of pursuing getting back in the Octagon.” – Brock Lesnar to Steve Austin – October 2015.
The four-time WWE (World Heavyweight), former UFC Heavyweight, NCAA Division I Heavyweight Wrestling and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Lesnar will face an as-yet-unnamed opponent on the blockbuster July 9 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at UFC200.