He’s back – or at least he will be, according to the boss.
UFC president Dana White answered multiple questions during an appearance on UFC Tonight. Host Daniel Cormier brought up Brock Lesnar, one of the most popular fighters to ever compete in MMA. When asked if he would return, White said yes.
Lesnar is a bit of an anomaly in the sports world. While his NCAA wrestling credentials and hulking physique make him an instantly recognizable figure with a legitimate combat sports background, he spent most of his younger athletic career in the WWE.
Performing under Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment company, Lesnar quickly gained a huge following. Given his background and size, he made headlines across the world when he announced his intention to give MMA a try.
Despite starting MMA later than most and even giving professional football a chance before fully committing, Lesnar showed his skills as an athlete and a competitor, quickly rising to the top.
After winning his first fight and coming to the UFC right after, Lesnar racked up a 5-3 record, scoring victories over the likes of Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, and Randy Couture. He captured the heavyweight title, defending it twice to tie Couture and Tim Sylvia for the second most defenses in the championship’s history.
Once he suffered back-to-back losses against Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem following a tough bout with diverticulitis, Lesnar announced his retirement. He ended up back in WWE where he is to this day. But following his planned defense of the WWE Universal title at WrestleMania, he could be headed back to the cage.
Lesnar did make one temporary return to the cage for UFC 200 back in July of 2016. He took on Mark Hunt in the co-main event, originally scoring a unanimous decision win. However, he failed a pair of drug tests following the bout and the result was overturned to a no-contest.
He was fined $250,000 and suspended for a year by the NSAC, but the one-off appearance meant the time away didn’t affect him much initially. He announced his retirement again in February 2017. Hunt didn’t take well to Lesnar’s failed test, and he’d already expressed concerns about whether the part-time fighter was in the same USADA drug testing pool as other fighters who were full-time members of the roster.
The incident resulted in Hunt suing the UFC while still under contract, creating a tense situation that continued to come up for months afterwards.
However, his suspension was frozen so he could still have time to serve once he returns to active competition. USADA may also implement stricter testing policies for Lesnar given his failed tests around UFC 200 and the problems they caused.
Along with Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and Georges St.-Pierre, Lesnar remains one of the biggest pay-per-view draws the promotion has ever had. If he does return, rematches with Velasquez and Overeem could await, as could new matchups with the likes of Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Fabricio Werdum, and many more.