With former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s current WWE deal set to expire following April 8’s WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, talk of yet another UFC run for the hulking fan favorite is reaching a fever pitch.
Those rumors were kicked into high gear earlier this year when Lesnar, who has been out of action in MMA since his decision win over Mark Hunt at 2016’s UFC 200, was spotted posing for a photo with UFC President Dana White while wearing a UFC t-shirt.
Lesnar was suspended by USADA for testing positive for a banned estrogen blocker, but that suspension has run its course and he’s now eligible to return to mixed martial arts. There’s little secret the UFC could use a proven pay-per-view draw like Lesnar during these uncertain times for the promotion, and apparently, Lesnar’s interest is also more than mutual.
During a recent spot with Newsweek, Lesnar’s longtime pro-wrestling ‘manager’ Paul Heyman put their proverbial cards on the table and revealed Lesnar’s desire to return to the octagon was not a secret, calling his perceived MMA return a ‘fact’:
“I don’t think it’s any secret that Brock is looking to get back into the octagon. He is obviously eyeballing another fight in UFC. There’s no secret. He’s posing for pictures with Dana White wearing a UFC shirt in the UFC offices in Las Vegas. That’s not a negotiating tactic, Brock Lesnar wants to compete inside of the octagon. There’s no leveraging that; it’s a fact.”
But Heyman didn’t stop short of insisting Lesnar could compete in both MMA and the WWE, pointing to the fact that he performed in the WWE just six weeks after his win over Hunt two years ago:
“We both have a number of projects we have been interested in pursuing that will start to kick off after WrestleMania. That doesn’t mean Brock Lesnar can’t retain the title and we do those other projects simultaneously in a continued run as Universal Champion. The proof I offer to you is Brock Lesnar fought Mark Hunt at UFC 200 and, six weeks later, main evented SummerSlam against Randy Orton.
“Brock Lesnar can do both and he has proven that time and time again. And I’ve been the co-founder and co-running my agency since I came back in 2012. I’ve been working on outside projects this entire time, so we can certainly walk that line when it comes to working in WWE and other projects. Mine is entertainment-based, Brock’s is beating the hell out of someone in the octagon.”
Lesnar may not be in prime UFC shape at 40, but he does have the fact that heavyweight seems to be a division much more conducive to older fighters staying around for a longer tenure on his side, evident by the many 35-plus fighters still competing at the top levels in the octagon.
That may not matter, however, because whenever Lesnar gets back into the octagon, people start buzzing and opening their wallets.
That’s a lot more than can be said for most of the pay-per-view events UFC owners Endeavor have put on in the past year and change, so don’t be at all surprised to see Lesnar back soon.