Earlier on in the year there was some talk that perhaps Brock Lesnar was plotting a return to the UFC after requesting a meeting with Dana White, but nothing came of it, and according to his manager Paul Heyman it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him in the Octagon again.
“Does Brock Lesnar want to go back? I don’t think Brock has anything to prove in the UFC anymore,” Heyman told ESPN.co.uk.
“He’s 35 years old. He made a lot of money in the UFC. His house and his farms and his cars and everything that he owns is paid for. Why would he go in and risk injury and concussions and risk any kind of physical damage when he doesn’t need to?
“That’s the thing you have to understand. How hungry can a fighter be when he has millions and millions of dollars in the bank? What’s there for him to gain? Another run as UFC heavyweight champion? Why would he do that?”
I’m not sad to hear this. It was fun while it lasted, but the truth is that the Lesnar freight train was running out of steam in a number of different ways in the latter stages of his UFC career.
Certainly his battle with diverticulitis had a significant role to play in that – not only due to the fact it may have hindered his performances prior to his surgery, and perhaps taken something from hm afterwards, but also because it prevented him from working on improving his skills for long periods of time at a crucial stage in his career.
The level of competition rose significantly in the heavyweight division during his run in the UFC, and with guys like Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez rising to the top he needed to start filling in the holes in his game rather than just relying on his size, strength and competitive drive to see him through if he wanted to stay competitive, but the illness robbed him of that opportunity and he paid the price.
The beating he took prior at the hands of Shane Carwin before going on to win that fight, plus the convincing nature of the losses that followed took away much of the mystique surrounding him, and so while at his peak he was the biggest draw the UFC’s ever had, by the end the numbers were dwindling.
The first tangible sign of that was after his loss to Velasquez when he returned to coach on TUF opposite Dos Santos. Despite his presence the show underperformed on Spike TV, but what really confirmed it was his last fight with Alistair Overeem at the end of last year.
Up until that point Lesnar had been doing over a million PPV buys consistently for his fights, but this one ended up doing just 535,000 (revised down just a couple of weeks ago after initial estimates had pegged it at a more respectable 750,000).
Lesnar has since returned to his WWE roots and hasn’t quite made the kind of splash they were hoping he might. I suspect the same might be true if he tried to return to the UFC at any point, so I think it’d be a smart move not to attempt it.