Brock Lesnar hasn’t officially won a fight since July 2010, but after Saturday night’s confrontation with Daniel Cormier it’s pretty clear who the next heavyweight title challenger will be.
“Yeah, we’re definitely gonna make that fight,” UFC President Dana White said at the UFC 226 post-fight press conference. “He came here tonight and he was all fired up. Right when he got to my seat on the side he was acting like a lunatic. He was fired up and excited for this fight.”
The shoving and shouting match that ensued between Lesnar and Cormier seemed to come straight from a WWE script, but the scene likely helped to build interest for a future fight between the two men.
“Staged? They’re idiots,” Cormier said of those who criticized the confrontation. “Fine, stay broke. You got a guy like Brock Lesnar in front of you and you don’t go crazy on him, are you crazy? When Brock decided to step in the Octagon with me, he’s a pro wrestler. He does fake fighting. I’ll do fake fighting until I put my fist upside your face. I’ll do fake fighting with you Brock and I’ll punch you upside your head.”
White, meanwhile, defended the notion of the promotion giving Lesnar a title fight despite his recent history. The WWE standout returned to the Octagon at UFC 200 in 2016 and took a unanimous verdict over Mark Hunt. However, that result was overturned to a no contest after Lesnar failed two drug tests in relation to the event.
“People are gonna criticize us no matter what we do. Brock came in, he popped for that thing, but he beat Mark Hunt who is one of the top guys…it’s a fight that people want to see,” White said. “And it’s definitely a fight that Cormier wants.”
Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA with six months remaining on his USADA suspension and as a result, is still obligated to fulfill that sanction before he can compete in the UFC again.
“The process has started,” White said of Lesnar re-entering the USADA drug testing pool. “They started the process last week. I don’t know where they are in the process. He’s gonna pop up on the board here soon.”
As a result, it’s not likely that Lesnar would be able to fight before January. On Saturday, Cormier said he’d be willing to return to light heavyweight to make a title defense while he waits for Lesnar. In an ideal world, “DC” would fight in November, again in March and then retire.
There is a little bit of history between Lesnar and Cormier stemming from their collegiate wrestling days.
Still, Cormier admits he was taken aback when Lesnar shoved him in the Octagon following his win over Stipe Miocic in the UFC 226 headliner.
“I was walking to the arena, I see Brock Lesnar walking behind me…When I’m in the Octagon waiting for Stipe he was standing there kind of smirking at me,” Cormier said. “So I was like, I guess Brock Lesnar’s here to pick a fight. So I called him out.
“I’ve known Brock since 1997. That’s why when he pushed me like that it was very odd,” Cormier continued. “Brock and I wrestled in the 1998 junior college finals together; I was 197 [pounds], he was the heavyweight champ. When he was Minnesota and I was at Oklahoma State we wrestled each other twice a year at dual meets. Not against each other, but the teams wrestled each other. When Brock was wrestling in the WWE, he was always great to me and my family. We’d go to the matches and he’d take pictures with my kids. I guess when you step in the Octagon, your emotions are raised a little bit.”