Brock Lesnar defends his WWE Universal Championship belt tonight at WrestleMania 35 (here’s how to watch), and many MMA fans will be watching carefully for any signs that might point to his UFC return. Will the big man drop the belt to Seth Rollins, opening the door for a much rumored bout against UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in August?
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, that’s the date the UFC would like to see Lesnar and Cormier fight. In the past, the promotion has been much more secretive regarding Lesnar’s return to cage fighting, which makes me wonder if they’re trying to drum up enough media attention to convince Lesnar it’s a worthwhile move. Lesnar has been more than happy to soak up attention from MMA fans and the press, but when time comes to sign on the dotted line it’s the WWE he tends to go with.
That’s probably for the best as far as heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos is concerned. Like many MMA fans, he doesn’t think Lesnar would fare well in the division these days, especially with Daniel Cormier holding the belt.
“I don’t think (Lesnar can defeat Cormier),” Dos Santos said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “For me, he’s not a real fighter. He’s an actor, a performer. I don’t know. But, of course, a fight is a fight. He’s a huge guy. he has a lot of power. But his chances to beat Cormier will be very, very little. Cormier will do the same gameplan, to take him down, make him tired and finish the fight. As he did with Derrick Lewis last time.”
”But, of course, like you said, it’s a money fight,” he added. “I don’t know why, but people like to see Brock Lesnar fighting. Because he talks a lot, because he’s huge, because he’s an entertaining guy. We have to understand that. We have to respect that.”
That’s awful understanding of Dos Santos considering Lesnar is basically butting in front of him when it comes to a title shot. With Lesnar’s last win at UFC 200 against Mark Hunt being overturned after a failed USADA drug test, there’s really no way to justify a title shot other than for financial reasons.
The UFC has always been ready to throw a bunch of money at Lesnar to make a big fight happen. Unfortunately for them, he keeps taking those offers to Vince McMahon. It’s unclear how much of a pay bump he makes every time this back and forth goes down. But one definite plus side in staying an ‘actor’ with the WWE is not getting destroyed by guys like JDS and Daniel Cormier in the Octagon.