On Saturday, WWE superstar and former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesner, announced that he would make his return to the octagon at UFC 200. The news came as a surprise to many because Lesner retired from the sport 15 months ago. On Monday, Lesner announced that his opponent will be Mark Hunt, and online MMA betting odds already have Lesner as the favorite to win the fight.
Since his retirement, fighters like Rhonda Rousey and Conor McGregor have become the most popular fighters in the UFC. Despite their popularity, they don’t have the type of star power that Lesner has.
Unlike McGregor and Rousey, whose popularity was aided by their ability to trash talk their opponents, Lesner lets his hands and feet do his talking for him, which is one of the reasons he is so popular with the fans.
Lesner’s fight against Frank Mir at UFC 100 in 2009 remains the top selling UFC pay per view event of all time, and with him on the already stacked UFC 200 card, expect this event to break the previous record, even without Conor McGregor on the card.
In an interview on ESPN’s SportCenter, Lesner said he was making a comeback because he couldn’t live with the decision that he made to retire. He called his retirement from the UFC a very difficult one that haunted him for the past 15 months.
Lesner said he is a big believer in people living their dreams and facing their fears, and he didn’t want to live the rest of his life with regrets that he should never have retired so he decided to make a comeback.
Since he was the main event at UFC 100, he figured he should also be on the UFC 200 card.
Lesner, who hasn’t fought since a loss to Alistair Overeem in December 2011, is officially a co-main eventer at UFC 200, which will take place on July 9. The light heavyweight title rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will headline the event.
Recently, the possibility of Lesner returning to the UFC had been mentioned because his career was cut short due to his fight with diverticulitis, a colon issue that affected his ability to perform effectively. Despite dealing with the illness, Lesner made two title defenses and held the heavyweight belt for 707 days.
Lesner is also a multi-time WWE champion as well as one of the company’s biggest stars before he decided to fight in the UFC. After retiring from the UFC, Lesner returned to the WWE and once again became the champion.
After his contract expired in 2015, Lesner flirted with a return to the UFC, but decided against it and announced his retirement from MMA.
While Lesner’s return to the UFC is a welcome surprise to many, it doesn’t mean that he is back for good. After the announcement about his return was made, the WWE issued a statement that called Lesner’s UFC fight a one-time thing.
The statement released by the WWE said Lesner is under contract with the WWE and was given an opportunity to return to the UFC for one fight. When the fight is over, Lesner is expected to return to the WWE and participate at SummerSlam in August.