The Next Big Thing
Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) takes on former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem at UFC 141: 'Lesnar vs. Overeem' on December 30th, 2001 live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The upcoming heavyweight tilt has been designated as a number one contender bout. The winner will be the first contender to face current heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, who is coming off a knockout win over Cain Velasquez.
Before Lesnar was a UFC champion, WWE champion or a late cut of the Minnesota Vikings-he was a NCAA heavyweight collegiate wrestling champion.
Let's rewind to the 2000 NCAA D-1 collegiate wrestling finals where Lesnar faced Wes Hand.
On October 20th, 2007 during the broadcast of UFC 77: 'Hostile Territory' the landscape of the Ultimate Fighting Championship changed. It was announced that former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, Brock Lesnar was signed by the UFC.
Many fans who didn't follow the WWE had little to no clue that Brock Lesnar was actually one of the most accomplished amateur wrestlers in collegiate history.
The UFC signed Lesnar due to his marketability, look and that fact he was a legit wrestler in a sport where wrestling has been a proven background for being successful inside the Octagon. Brock Lesnar was also known for his freak athleticism as he is a huge man, at 6'4" and close to 300 pounds (prior to the weight cut) he'd move smoothly like a man half his size.
The intangibles was Brock's work ethic, he almost made the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in 2004. H e was a late cut from the squad and was given an invitation to play and hone his game in the NFL Europa league but declined due to wanting to be closer to home.
Mind you, Brock never played a single down of football in college.
For Lesnar his UFC success has been linked to his amateur wrestling credentials and it all started in his hometown of Webster, North Dakota. In his senior year at Webster High School, Lesnar went 33-0-0 but also cites he was the lowest graduating student.
Lesnar would move on to the Bismarck State College before joining the University of Minnesota. He would go on full-scholarship to the University of Minnesota for his junior and senior years. His roommate and one of his assistant coaches was ironically a fellow future WWE superstar, Shelton Benjamin.The duo would be a future tag team in Ohio Valley Wrestling, known as the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.
Lesnar would finish second place in the 1999 NCAA D-1 collegiate wrestling finals. Lesnar would be bested by Stephen Neal. Neal, would go onto become a guard in the NFL for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to being a professional football player, Neal posted a 151-10 record and was a four-time All-American.
Lesnar said on the 'Opie and Anthony' radio show that the loss to Neal sticks with him.
Lesnar would get his second crack at an NCCA championship when he faced Iowa Hawkeye, Wes Hand in the finals. Hand, was a very impressive 102-32 and now is an assistant coach at Iowa after earning many wrestling accomplishments while coaching at Virginia Tech.
Here is this 2000 NCAA D-1 wrestling finals (heavyweight) Brock Lesnar (Minnesota) vs. Wes Hand (Iowa):
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., Dec. 30), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 7 p.m. ET with the preliminary bouts.