The announcement was a stunning one due to Lesnar having flirted with a return to the promotion over a year ago only to re-sign with the WWE in March of 2015. Many felt that officially put an end to any possible chance at a return to the Octagon.
Now "The Beast," who is still under contract with WWE, is being granted a one-off opportunity to compete in his first match since walking away from the sport in December of 2011 after a first-round technical knockout loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. In that statement released by WWE, it was announced that Lesnar will return at Summer Slam on August 21, 2016.
The WWE superstar has already made the rounds on ESPN and will be facing the No.8-ranked UFC Heavyweight, Mark Hunt in the co-main event at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016.
Of course, with the return of Lesnar, there are plenty of questions to ask about what it means for both UFC and WWE going forward.
A man who knows quite a bit about Lesnar, WWE Hall of Famer, current commentator of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV and host of The Ross Report Podcast, Jim Ross, answered some of those questions in an interview with MMAMania recently about Lesnar's return to the UFC and what it means going forward.
Are you surprised Brock Lesnar is coming back to the UFC, especially after he re-signed with WWE last year and it seemed like he had put the idea of coming back to bed?
"Not totally. He's a jock, who loves to compete. Plus he's a business man and the lofty pay day was obviously too appealing to turn down.
Do you think WWE are somewhat putting SummerSlam at risk by having Brock fight so close to that date?
"No. Lesnar is a part time WWE performer, who is currently not involved in a developed story line. Summer Slam's success isn't tied to Brock.
I've seen many WWE/MMA fans and media saying that if Brock loses in UFC it's bad for his role in WWE. I think that is silly since he is such a huge draw and it seems fans flock to see him regardless of anything else outside of WWE. What is your take on that stance?
"Win or loss at UFC 200, Lesnar will remain WWE's most marketable star in my opinion. Losing a bout in a legit sporting event, for example, should not affect one's casting in sports entertainment.
Do you think this is just one more time for Brock, or do you think if he has a good performance at UFC 200, he gets the itch to keep fighting?
"Hard to speculate on this, but my guess is this will be a one-off for Brock. But I would not bet the farm on it, especially if Brock has a positive showing.
I think it would be unique and quite challenging for both companies if he continued fighting and wrestling simultaneously, but I'd love to see them try an attempt it. Do you think that could work and be sustainable, or would it be too difficult?
"Fighting full time while balancing an ongoing WWE schedule feels daunting to me at Brock's age. I wouldn't recommend it.
We've spoken before about how cross promotion between WWE and UFC is a win-win situation and great for both entities. Do you think Vince agreed to have Brock do a one-off fight while under contract since UFC granted permission for Ronda to appear at WM 31, or they would've done it anyway?
"Unlikely. I see this as an arrangement for WWE to perhaps get a Wrestlemania 33 attraction such as Ronda Rousey, etc. I wouldn't be shocked either if WWE got some cast for the Lesnar transaction either.
I've read recently that WWE is interested in Paige Van Zant, and reached out to her management team about a possible appearance at Summer Slam. What kind of role do you think she would fit in there and do you think this could be the start of a more regular working relationship between WWE and UFC going forward?
"No idea as I don't know if Paige is a WWE fan or is she is willing to get physical and do the in-ring training necessary to execute a match. I do not see an ongoing WWE/UFC relationship, but one of a case-by-case scenario.