What’s a week as an MMA fan without a Brock Lesnar return rumor? Even though the former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar retired from mixed martial arts in December of 2011, rumors have been constantly swirling about his return.
Lesnar first returned to mixed martial arts headlines leading up to UFC 168 when rumors of his return surfaced. FoxSports.com Mike Chiappetta reported the rumors crediting the mixedmartialarts.com forums as his source. To make matters even juicier, UFC President Dana White played coy with the media all week in regards to Lesnar.
UFC 168 came and went without any announcement pertaining to the former champion leaving the world of MMA in confusion. All questions were answered the Monday after UFC 168 when Lesnar returned to the WWE.
With Lesnar’s return to the WWE all hope seemed to be lost for a potential UFC return. Fear not Lesnar fans as the rumor mill has once again started churning about his return to the UFC.
Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) of the L.A. Times tweeted earlier this week:
“[Dana White] told me last week he was talking to [Brock Lesnar] but wouldn’t announce anything until a signing.”
MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) had received different news about Lesnar, tweeting:
“Despite tweets to the contrary, I’m told there’s still nothing to these Brock returning to UFC rumors. WrestleMania season, friends.”
A Brock Lesnar return would be huge for the UFC whose pay-per-view numbers have been falling since Lesnar’s retirement. Every UFC pay-per-view that featured Lesnar never sold below 500,000 and were regularly around the one million mark.
Lesnar first entered the UFC in 2008 in a losing effort against former UFC champion Frank Mir. After his bout with Mir, Lesnar went on to beat PRIDE FC veteran Heath Herring before capturing the UFC heavyweight belt by defeating Randy Couture. His first title defense was a rematch against Mir where he brutalized the only man to beat him en-route to a second round TKO. After the bout Lesnar was sidelined for a year when he was diagnosed with an intestinal disease known as diverticulitis.
Lesnar returned to action in July of 2010 defending his title against Shane Carwin via second round submission. He was then matched with quick rising heavyweight Cain Velasquez. In a back and forth fight, Lesnar ended up relinquishing his title to Velasquez via first round TKO.
Lesnar was then scheduled to face top contender Junior dos Santos but pulled out of the bout after he was once gain struck with diverticulitis. After recovering from the disease a second time, Lesnar returned to the UFC against StrikeForce import Alistair Overeem. Overeem bullied Lesnar in the fight finishing the former champion with a brutal kick to the body in the first round.
In his post-fight interview, Lesnar announced his retirement from the sport stating that he did not want to put his family through watching him fight anymore. Four months after his bout with Overeem, Lesnar returned to the WWE and signed a contract with the company through 2015.
It may take time until we know if Brock will return to the UFC but one thing is for certain fight fans: it’s going to be a helluva ride to find out.