Did Brock Lesnar Change The Face Of MMA?


Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar undeniably left a mark on the sport of MMA. After obtaining the NCAA Division wrestling championship in 2000 and going on to win the WWE championship, Lesnar made his UFC debut at UFC 81 in early 2008.

The night will be forever etched in Octagon lore, as Lesnar bull rushed fellow former heavyweight champ Frank Mir to signify he had arrived. Brute strength wasn’t enough, however, as Mir rebounded to pull off a classic kneebar submission.

But that was only the beginning of “The Beast’s” run in UFC.

Lesnar beat Heath Herring his next time out, and then won UFC gold by defeating the legendary Randy Couture at UFC 91. From there, Lesnar went on to headline the biggest MMA event of all-time, avenging his previous loss to Mir in a one-sided beatdown at UFC 100.

That was the height of his popularity in MMA, as an unfortunate bout with diverticulitis marred the rest of Lesnar’s short MMA career. Originally scheduled to face Shane Carwin for the belt in November 2009, Lesnar returned at UFC 116 in July 2010 after healing from the ailment.

But it was clear he was never the same, and a new crop of UFC heavyweights had already arrived. A new highlight reel of Lesnar losing emerged after current UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez pounded him in a stumbling defeat at UFC 121. Lesnar fought on, appearing on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 opposite Junior dos Santos, but was forced to withdraw from the season-ending bout to continue battling diverticulitis.

Lesnar eventually came back at UFC 141 in 2011, but this time, he was on the way out. Eating a vicious body kick from UFC-debuting Alistair Overeem, Lesnar was easily finished in the first round and retired immediately after the loss.

There’s not a single fighter out there that made or will make the impact that Lesnar did with a 5-3 overall record. Many will argue that fighters like Velasquez, dos Santos, and Overeem had simply passed him by in overall skillsets, and they may very well be correct. But there’s no denying “The Beast’s” electric drawing power and impact upon mixed martial arts.

In the above Ultimate Fighting Championship Fight Pass video, Lesnar’s influence is commented on by his WWE peer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who said that Lesnar took the UFC by storm. There’s no doubt he did just that. “Stone Cold’s” simple take on Lesnar’s foray into MMA:

“Bottom line is, Brock is a badass cat.”

That he was. While it would have been interesting to see how he would have done against the best fighters in the world were he not stricken by diverticulitis, Lesnar’s impact cannot be denied. What is your favorite memory of the brutish former champ?

  • My favorite Brock Lesnar fights would be his match with Alistair Overeem and Cain Velasquez, with honorable mention going to the first Frank Mir fight, as well as the first round of his bout with Shane Carwin.

    Sadly, we never got to see JDS get a shot at him. I'm sure that would've been fun to watch.

    • Zip

      Yeah, I'd pay to see JDS beat him up.

    • So your favorite Brock Lesnar moments were when he lost? Haters are going to hate.

  • nope

  • lol is this a joke he's a waste of a role of skin

  • D

    He had some impact on the entertainment side of the business…

    But as far as the sport of MMA goes, he didn't revolutionize anything. He was a freak athlete with a completely one-dimensional skill-set. If anything, he set the sport back a little.

  • When Brock fights people watch! I can't agree more with this as I started to watch the UFC a lot more because of Brock Lesnar. We need to give this guy his due. He was a force to recon with when he entered the UFC. He fought almost the best that the UFC had to offer at that time and he was the HW champion. Let us not forget that he got that belt from a very seasoned fighter.

    I am not a Brock fan, but I have a lot of respect for him as a fighter, entertainer and an athlete.

  • Like him or not, Brock made everyone tune in. No one currently in the UFC can match his numbers; I hope someone will someday.

    He was far from the most skilled fighter; that much is true. He also could not take a shot from a top-level guy like Velasquez or Overeem, and dos Santos would have probably knocked him out in the first round.

    With that said, he showed some excellent resiliency against Carwin; that was a great fight. His losses may or may not have ended up the same without the diverticulitis, that much we'll never know.

    In the end, he brought a ton of much needed publicity to the UFC and MMA as a whole and was a big reason the sport became as popular as it did.

    He might not be the most popular champion, and he's far from the best, but his impact upon the sport cannot be denied.

    • his impact on the economic side cannot be denied. All well and fine for the organizers though for the viewers this is irrelevant.