Brock Lesnar (6-3) made a successful return to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at UFC 200 last night (Sat., July 9, 2016), picking up a unanimous decision win over Mark Hunt in the co-main event of the evening inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It marked his first victory inside the Octagon since submitting Shane Carwin at UFC 116 back in July 2010.
"Beast Incarnate" avoided Hunt's big power, landed timely takedowns and slammed down some heavy ground-and-pound in the final round to earn 29-27 scores from all three judges. It was quite a feat to step back in the Octagon after being out since 2011 and notch a win over a Top 10-ranked opponent; however, Lesnar is a special kind of athlete and this is a crazy and unpredictable sport.
Prior to the post-fight press conference, the 38-year-old former UFC Heavyweight champion and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star held court at a press conference of his own and, of course, was asked if he would be making a return to the Octagon and how he'd go about it making that happen.
Would he need to clear it with WWE head honcho, Vince McMahon?
"Well, let's get something clear -- Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do," Lesnar affirmed. "I believe that my future is already laid out for the next month. I'm doing Summer Slam against Randy Orton. Once the dust settles there I don't what I'm going to do. I had one hell of a time tonight and I enjoyed myself, so we'll see what happens. I don't know. it's really way too soon guys. I have no idea."
You could tell Lesnar was really taking in the moment, standing up on the dais -- his left eye swollen -- as a winner. It was only fitting he had his own Q & A session, after all, he received the lion's share of attention and questions during fight week. He even cracked a joke about going home and drinking a Coors Light, which was a reference to his infamous post-fight interview from UFC 100 that got him in hot water with company president Dana White. "That was all made up shit," he casually revealed. We did that for publicity."
Lesnar was happy to get the win over Hunt, who had been picked by many to knock him out in the opening round.
"Super Samoan" may have landed a few good ones during their three-round encounter, but never had him "rocked," he revealed.
"I don't know if they were his best shots or not," said Lesnar. "I felt them. The mystery is gone. I guess I can take a shot. I stuck to the gameplan. I've been out of this game for five years people and for me to step back in the cage on really short notice and put a camp together and I couldn't have done it without all the people that supported me. I stuck to the plan. I took some good shots. I took him down. It was a wrestler versus a power hitter. He never knocked the fuck out of me and here I am. I'm happy."
Indeed, Lesnar executed a solid gameplan that comprised wrestling and takedowns. And it was a recipe for success. The former NCAA Division I National Champion from University of Minnesota took Hunt down in the first and controlled the action in the opening five minutes, but couldn't land a takedown in the second frame. However, he successfully avoided the powerful punches of the No. 8-ranked UFC Heavyweight and when he landed a takedown in the third round, he was able to keep Hunt on the ground and beat him up for the remainder of the fight.
A reporter suggested Lesnar was breathing heavy in the final round, which he immediately dismissed before reminding everyone where his strengths lie inside the Octagon.
"Breathing a little hard while you take a guy down and beat on his head?" He said incredulously. "Who ain't going to breathe a little hard. I never felt fatigued at all. I mean, I was cool, calm and collected. I knew that if I could stand and hang and bang and take some shots from Mark ... There ain't a guy, I believe, in the UFC heavyweight division that I can't take down. I've taken every single guy down that I ever fought against, including Cain Velasquez. I didn't keep him down, but I did take him down. Shane Carwin. I took him down and we are talking about five years ago people, alright. I'm a 39-year-old man and I'm pretty proud of myself."
Like any fighter, Lesnar admitted he would've loved to have finished Hunt inside the distance, but he was happy to get the win in his UFC return after a near five-year absence, saying he "hadn't had that much fun in a long time."
"Well, I wanted to finish the fight, but the guy has a coconut head and my ground and pound, I'm sure he is going to feel it tomorrow just as I'm going to feel his punch tomorrow," he said. "He's a standup guy. We have no bad blood against each other. He's a tough son of a bitch. He took a lot of good shots from me and I took some from him. Would I have liked to end the fight? Absolutely, but I won."
Lesnar remains a huge draw, and was paid quite handsomely for his appearance at UFC 200. It's not out of the realm of possibility to see him become a legit contender for UFC's Heavyweight title should he return to fighting once again on a regular basis. He admitted he would need to "sharpen some skills," but was more than confident at what he could accomplish if he fully committed to it.
"I believe any man can do whatever he wants if he puts his mind to it," said Lesnar. "I've been out of this game for five years. i just stepped back in the cage and trained for six weeks. I think I put a good beating on Mark Hunt tonight. I think anything is possible, ain't it?"
The former champ has "Summer Slam" coming up in August, but from hearing him speak after getting a win in his highly-anticipated return, it sure sounds like the wheels are already turning in his head at the possibilities that are waiting there for him.
"I've been gone five years and I stepped back in the Octagon tonight and beat a guy ranked eighth in the world," Lesnar said. "You can write what you want to write but I think I'm the toughest son of a bitch and I'm a top 10. It puts me right in the game. Granted, I have some work to do, but don't we all. If I want to make that decision and continue fighting I will."
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