Brock Lesnar announced his dance partner for his UFC 200 comeback. The former UFC heavyweight champion named as his opponent another behemoth needing to cut weight to make the 265-pound limit.
“I do believe it’s done and it’s official,” Lesnar said of his opponent’s contract. “At July 9 at UFC 200, I will be facing Mark Hunt.”
The supersized Super Samoan owns a 12-10-1 record in mixed martial arts, boasting wins over Wanderlei Silva, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva, Frank Mir, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Ben Rothwell. Although both men likely enter the octagon around 265 pounds, Hunt gives up five inches in height and nine inches in reach.
Both walk through the cage door with an enormous number of fans generated from a very different type of power. Lesnar’s farm-boy strength allows him to control massive men on the ground. Hunt’s knockout power enables him to render any man unconscious. They share another attribute, albeit in a contrasting way like their striking and grappling power, in common. Hunts displays a quiet charisma; Lesnar, a clamorous charisma.
Lesnar pointed out that the wrestler-striker matchup hearkened back to the UFC’s origins pitting practitioners of different disciplines against one another.
“Well, I’m a grappler at heart,” he told ESPN’s Hannah Storm. “He’s a heavy hitter. That’s what the people want to see.”
Just last year, Lesnar closed the door on a comeback, signing a contract extension from the WWE and rejecting a deal with the UFC.
“I couldn’t live with that decision,” the four-time WWE heavyweight champion told ESPN’s Storm. “That decision has haunted me for the last fifteen months. I figured I couldn’t live with that decision for the rest of my life.”
Lesnar says an epiphany over a cup of coffee at his ranch in Canada led to a phone call to the UFC three months ago. Storm asked Lesnar, who looked fit, when he resumed training. “Eight o’clock yesterday morning,” Lesnar responded. “I went for a swim.”
He remained similarly guarded regarding his paycheck.
“I’m making a boatload of money,” he divulged. “I can’t disclose. There’s lots of zeros behind it.”
He cited competition and cash as reasons for his comeback after four-and-a-half years away from the octagon.
“I felt like I was cheated,” he said of an intestinal disease cutting him down at his peak. “I lost to diverticulitis. That was the opponent that beat me.”
Despite talking about his competitive fire, Lesnar pointed to money as a motivator.
“Titles don’t pay the bills,” he noted. “I’m a prize fighter. I fight for money.”
Though Lesnar appeared reserved and spoke in a retrained cadence unlike his professional wrestling persona, he allowed that boastful alter ego to escape at one point in the interview. “I’m a crossover athlete,” he said of his parallel careers in the WWE and the UFC. “I’m the modern-day Bo Jackson, people.”
Lesnar, who owns a 5-3 MMA record and a championship reign that lasted from 2008 to 2010, says he cares little for people who rest on laurels or legacy.
“I think people who live on legacy are very shallow in the soul,” Lesnar maintained. “I’m not. I’m always moving forward.”