Call it a comeback and maybe one of the greatest in UFC history. Former UFC champion and WWE star Brock Lesnar returned to the octagon with a vengeance in a fight that opens up more questions regarding the former champ’s future.
Lesnar won a dominate performance over the eighth ranked UFC heavyweight in the division Mark Hunt. Lesnar returned to action for the first time in five-years and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. The win will only open up more questions as to where Brock goes next in the UFC.
While the fight was certainly not nearly as exciting as Brock’s win at UFC 100, it was a remarkable appearance. Remarkable in the sense you had a guy who hadn’t fought in five-years, announced his retirement from MMA just a few months ago, and walked into the octagon against one of the heaviest hitters in the sport and completely dominated Hunt for two rounds, while not facing any severe danger or taking an real damage at all throughout the fight.
The game plan was simple, take Hunt down and that is what Lesnar did. Lesnar took Hunt down and rode him for most of the first round. I thought Hunt was in danger at one point of having the fight stopped but he stayed active. Round two was a really strange round as nobody did much of anything. Lesnar’s corner told him to strike which I found odd since he had so much success on the ground. Lesnar went back to the takedown strategy in round 3 and while Hunt improved on blocking some of the takedowns, he did go down. Brock again rode Hunt and peppered him with strikes on the ground. In the end it was hardly the exciting fight I expected to see between a knockout artist and an explosive machine like Brock. Yet Brock was the unequivocally the dominate fighter and pulled out a 29-27 decision win.
One of the big questions coming into the fight was what the WWE was getting out of it. Why would they let arguably their biggest drawing card risk getting KO’d in front of millions of people in a fight Dave Meltzer said was a swerve? Well the answer came right before the fight when UFC 200 fans were treated to a SummerSlam commercial promoting Brock vs. Randy Orton and Chuck Liddell introducing a WWE 2K17 video game advertisement featuring Brock.
Brock didn’t give any answers as to his future following the fight. Brock only thanked the fans for welcoming him back. Brock also paid tribute to those in uniform and asked for peace and harmony. As for the fight, “It took me a little while to get acclimated,” said Lesnar. “I’m so happy to be back here.”
So what does happen next? I can’t believe that this is truly one and done for Brock, especially after such a dominating performance. I have to think that Brock’s next fight is either for the UFC heavyweight title or possibly a rematch with Cain Velasquez with the winner getting the champion. Nothing else makes sense and with Ronda Rousey’s future in doubt and the ongoing issues with Conor McGregor, the UFC have to be salivating at the idea of getting Brock back into the rotation.
As for Brock and the WWE, who really knows what happens after SummerSlam? Brock has made some comments lately that would lead you to think that there could be tension with the company. He is still under contract so whatever happens next will have to include negotiations with the WWE. That could get sticky now that the WWE clearly has a serious advantage in the negotiations.
At the end of the day I still don’t quite understand the payoff for the WWE. Was a SummerSlam and 2K17 ad enough risk for putting Brock in that kind of position? While it’s a fun story to see WWE commercials on a UFC PPV, how many of those people watching UFC 200 that aren’t WWE fans are going to suddenly buy SummerSlam or WWE 2K17? I can’t imagine any.
We’ll see what happens next. I would presume that all parties will remain mum through SummerSlam. With UFC heading into Madison Square Garden in November, I would be surprised if there isn’t a strong push to get Brock on the bill.