Brock Lesnar will compete at UFC 200, but it doesn’t sound as though he has a long-term future in the Octagon.
Shortly after the Las Vegas-based promotion officially revealed that ex-heavyweight champion would fight an as-yet-unnamed opponent on the blockbuster July 9 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Lesnar’s current employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, issued a statement of its own.
“Brock Lesnar remains under contract to WWE, however, he has been granted a one-off opportunity to compete at UFC 200,” read a statement on WWE.com. “Following this milestone event on July 9, Brock will return to WWE for SummerSlam on Sunday, August 21, live on WWE Network.”
Lesnar initially decided against returning to MMA last year after the WWE made what he called an offer “I just could not refuse.” Those plans have apparently changed, although UFC Director of Public Relations Dave Sholler was not able to offer much insight on the situation during the UFC 199 post-fight press conference on Saturday night. UFC President Dana White was not in attendance.
“This is the first time news was a surprise to me,” Sholler said.
Assuming all goes as planned, Lesnar will step into the Octagon for the first time since Dec. 30, 2011, when he suffered a first-round technical knockout loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. Lesnar debuted in the Octagon with a first-round submission loss to Frank Mir at UFC 81, but he then reeled off four straight wins, capturing the heavyweight title along the way.
However, a life-threatening bout with diverticulitis left Lesnar a shell of himself and he didn’t appear to be nearly the same upon his return, which ultimately led to him announcing his retirement following the loss to Overeem.