If I told you a former professional wrestler, coming from a business in which the fighting is scripted and predetermined, was the best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter in the world, you would probably think I was crazy.
Well, that statement is as real as it gets.
Brock Lesnar, the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Superstar and Heavyweight Champion is now the very best in the world of MMA.
Lesnar has reigned as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion for the past 10-plus months, and shows no signs of slowing down. After falling to a much more experienced Frank Mir in his UFC debut, Lesnar has steamrolled the competition on his way to winning the UFC title.
So how has a professional wrestler become so legitimate almost overnight? There are many factors that make this man the absolute best.
Lesnar was, before his WWE stint and contrary to popular belief at that time, a “real” athlete. The 32-year-old South Dakota native was the 2000 NCAA Amateur Wrestling Champion, compiling a record of 106-5 in his four years of college.
His weight at 265 pounds is deceiving. The man is one of the heaviest fighters in the Heavyweight class in UFC, and he uses that to his fullest advantage. With overpowering strikes, Lesnar wears down his opponents to the point in which he can take them down to the mat, get in a mounted position, and pummel them to the point of a Technical Knock-Out (TKO).
He also has the confidence that borders on arrogance. After his rematch and victory against Mir for the UFC Heavyweight title at UFC 100 on Pay-Per-View, Lesnar got on the microphone, saying anything and everything on his mind. From talking about “getting on top of my wife” to drinking Coors Light because “Bud Light (a large UFC Sponsor) won’t pay me enough,” Lesnar just wants to be treated as the best.
He knows he’s good. Just ask him.
Lesnar’s WWE-like theatrics may not be what UFC President Dana White wants, but he certainly has nothing to be upset about. The recent rise in popularity of MMA and UFC and the debut of a world-renowned professional wrestler are not mutually exclusive.
With UFC now being covered by the likes of ESPN, Yahoo Sports, and other sports media outlets, it shows that giving a personality who has mainstream publicity along with credible athletic background has helped put UFC even further into the public eye.
The UFC needs Lesnar at the top as badly as Lesnar needs to be at the top. After a sudden and negative exit from the WWE in 2004, Lesnar tried his hand in the NFL. He made the practice squad of the Minnesota Vikings, but was cut just days later.
Having not played football since high school, the hopeful defensive tackle was one of the last cuts due to his mediocre play and his penchant for starting fights in scrimmages and preseason games.
With no other place to turn to fulfill his athletic potential, Lesnar’s UFC arrival has benefitted both parties. Lesnar is the best, and UFC is the major league of MMA. His dominance of the brand will only add more luster to his credibility not only as a fighter, but also as an athlete in general.
It also helps UFC’s cause as well, as the higher-ups must be pleased with the publicity and media attention a man with Lesnar’s name recognition brings.
Yes, Lesnar is arguably the best in the world. His strength is, so far, unmatched, and his cocky attitude keeps him fighting to stay on top. He will certainly be there for a long, long time.
Lesnar will try to continue to cement his already growing UFC legacy, as he defends his title against the undefeated 259 ½ lb. knockout specialist Shane Carwin. If I was a betting man, I would definitely put my money on the champ.
Lesnar would tell you to do the exact same thing.