Lesnar retires from UFC; returning to WWE?
After last night’s UFC 141 main-event loss to Alistair Overeem, Brock Lesnar announced his retirement from Mixed Martial Arts. The MMA world is a buzz right now with tweets and Facebook chatter regarding Brock Lesnar’s future. Will he simply take a few months off and return to MMA eventually or was this his last hoorah in the octagon?
In 2004, Brock Lesnar stood up in front of his peers in the WWE locker room a couple weeks before WrestleMania 20 that he was unhappy and he would be leaving WWE following the WrestleMania pay-per-view to persue a career in the NFL. The announcement was met with mixed emotion from both his peers and WWE management. The company felt as though Lesnar was “leaving them hanging,” seeing as Lesnar’s opponent – Bill Goldberg – was also leaving the company after the biggest pay-per-view of the year. In front of a hostile New York City crowd, both men put on one of the worst performances in WWE history as they were booed out of the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Following his exit from WWE, Lesnar began training for a career in the NFL. Having not played football since high school, Lesnar knew he faced an uphill battle. Unfortunately for Brock, he was one of the final cuts of the Minnesota Vikings. He was back to square one.
With fear that Lesnar would jump to TNA Wrestling, WWE’s legal department filed a suit against Lesnar stating that he left WWE shortly after signing a long-term contract. The company stated financial losses from losing Lesnar and blocked the former NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion from jumping to the U.S.-based promotion. After a lengthy court battle, the two came to a compromise. Lesnar would be allowed earn a living in a different career path, but not for a promotion in the United States.
In 2005, Brock Lesnar jumped to All Japan Pro Wrestling and won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In July 2006, Lesnar was stripped of the title and began training for a career in mixed martial arts. He won his first career fight in July 2007 against Min-Soo Kim. In October 2007, Lesnar signed a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
His debut fight was against former Heavyweight champion Frank Mir. On SuperBowl weekend 2008, Lesnar lost to Mir in the 1st round. Despite the loss, it was evident that a Superstar was born. Lesnar possessed physical gifts like no one before him. At 6’3 and 285-pounds, his natural talent was apparent, as he took Mir to the ground in the first 5 seconds of round 1. A few months following the loss, Lesnar’s next opponent was Heath Herring.
A dominating performance put Lesnar in the title picture, much to the chargrin of the other fighters in the heavyweight division. UFC President Dana White made a business decision to put Brock Lesnar in the main-event of UFC 91 against then Heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture. Couture, in his mid-40’s, was outweighed by more than 60-pounds come fight time. Lesnar dominated the fight and finished Couture minutes into round 2.
Lesnar’s next fight would come at UFC 100 against hated-rival, Frank Mir. The trash-talk in the months prior to the fight felt almost WrestleMania-esque, as once again, the UFC did a fantastic job building the fight between the two fighters. With minutes of round 2, Lesnar had dominated Mir and retained his heavyweight title.
In 2009, Lesnar was sidelined with a disease known as Diverticulitis. The disease causes the inner lining of the intestine to become inflamed and/or infected. After being sidelined for over a year and avoiding surgery, Lesnar would return to fight Shane Carwin at UFC 116. After a rough 1st round, Lesnar recovered to choke out Carwin and regain his heavyweight championship. Lesnar would then move on to face Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, where he would lose in convincing fashion to the much more experienced veteran.
After being sidelined with a secound-bout of Diverticulitis in May 2011, Lesnar would undergo surgery to cure the disease. In August, Lesnar announced he would return to the UFC by year’s end. Dana White later announced the signing of K1 and Pride Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem. The two behemoths would fight at UFC 141 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The winner would go on to fight heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Within two minutes of round 1, Lesnar’s MMA career would go up in smoke. Following the devastating loss, Brock Lesnar announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
The world of social media blew up with tweets and Facebook messages regarding Lesnar’s short MMA career and possible return to WWE.
Personally, I applaud Brock for chasing his dreams and giving it a shot. He wasn’t happy in WWE, and I was glad to see him leave to persue something he loved rather than see him end up dead before the age of 40. All the Brock haters should at least respect the guy for his effort. If he does end up back in WWE and decides that is what is best for him and his family, I respect that.
The question remains, though… how exactly would Brock fit into WWE? Who would he feud with? Would there be hostility towards him?
Whatever happens, I look forward to it!
Best of luck, Brock! Thank you for the memories!