As Tim “The Maniac” Sylvia and Brandon “The Truth” Vera faced off in a potential #1 contendership bout to determine who would reportedly face Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira, there was one man in the crowd who was not only happy about a recent deal that he had signed that would bring him into the Octagon, but also very interested in watching how the two men in the Octagon battled it out. After all, he could be fighting as soon as early next year in cage. That man was Brock Lesnar.
Aside from his suit jacket that looked as if he’d come from a meat packer’s convention, Lesnar’s immense size was nothing to look past. For mixed martial arts fans that have never followed pro wrestling, Lesnar was a well-known World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler who is most notably known for obtaining the WWE Championship belt three times and using his special “F-5″ move to finish opponents. Aside from his entertainment career, Lesnar has a plethora of wrestling credentials. We’ll get into that a bit later. The real question to be asked is whether Lesnar will make a significant impact on the Heavyweight division. Will Lesnar’s wrestling ability, size, and strength absolutely decimate a division full of some fairly talented fighters? Let’s take a look.
First, I thought I’d touch on the career of Brock Lesnar without all the soap opera stories involved in his WWE career. Lesnar was a four-time All-American, a two-time Big Ten champion, and the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight champion sporting a 106-5 record in four years of college. After ending his college career, he signed with the WWE. After only two years in the wrestling entertainment business, he obtained the WWE title at only 25 from the champion at the time, The Rock. After 4 years in the organization, Lesnar left the WWE to pursue a career in the NFL. He made the team in a try out with the Minnesota Vikings. In one of the team’s preseason games, he made a crushing sack of Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Damon Huard. Huard was injured on the play and actually sat out for a few series. For anybody who knows football, this is a huge no-no in preseason football. In all the controversy, Lesnar was cut from the team after a few no-shows. It was reported that he sustained some injuries in a motorcycle accident and was unable to attend practices because of it.
After trying his hand at pro football, he returned to the entertainment stage by trying to fight an event in the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion. After a long feud with the WWE over a no-compete clause that stopped Lesnar from fighting in another organization, he was able to settle and compete in the Japanese wrestling promotion. Lesnar fought for two to three years in the organization before ending it in a battle with Kurt Angle. After Lesnar defeated Angle, he challenged him to a mixed martial arts fight. It has been said that both exchanged blows behind the scenes.
Before his battle with Kurt Angle in Japan, Brock Lesnar did manage to fight in his first official MMA fight against Min Soo Kim. The fight was a standard ground and pound beatdown by Lesnar, but didn’t show much skill since he basically only had to throw Kim to the mat and pound him. I believe we will see more as his career progresses.
Obviously Lesnar has an extensive list of wrestling credentials that should suit him in the cage. He has been working up in Minnesota with Greg Nelson and Marty Morgan, a couple of great trainers in MMA and wrestling. It is well-known that wrestling backgrounds have been the easiest transitioning skillsets to MMA. Many of the fighters in the Miletich camp have transitioned nicely as well as a quality number of fighters in the UFC. Lesnar’s physical attributes definitely pose a huge threat to any heavyweight out there. Let’s get into that some more.
Is the potential endless?
Let’s take a look at Lesnar’s skills in the capacity of what we’ve seen from him. Obviously, he has an extensive wrestling background that will allow him to be devastating in the takedown game. With the amount of strength he possesses along with his overall size, he will be a load for most fighters. If you think about his wrestling career in the entertainment industry, you may think that it’s pointless to include it in the assessment of his skills. It’s far from that. As fake as the WWE may be, the wrestlers in the organization must be well conditioned and in great athletic shape to take the amount of damage their bodies can handle hitting the hard canvas without sustaining massive injury to their back, legs, or head. He obviously can take some hard blows. Blows to the head? That remains to be seen. Also, his power is evident in his WWE fighting. He is able to lift large amounts of weight fairly easily and that could become a key tool in the cage.
What about his striking? We have yet to see whether it will be relevant on his feet. We do know that on the ground or in the clinch, his powerful arms could prove to end bouts fairly quickly. This is exactly how he finished Min Soo Kim in their K-1 Dynamite battle. Kim tapped due to eating strikes while stuck in full mount. Without seeing any footage regarding his striking, we could make a case for the fact that his reach may be a disadvantage. Although I don’t think Lesnar is the type of fighter that will be standing and trading during his bouts, he may be at a loss if he faces a fighter who has a very good takedown sprawl. Who would that fighter be? I’m not completely sure considering Lesnar’s takedowns could be so devastating and powerful that it may be a lost cause trying to sprawl through them. The bigger heavyweights may have a bit more leverage though.
Another huge attribute that he has is a following from the wrestling scene. There are many fans of professional wrestling that will definitely be interested in watching him fight in the UFC. Not only will he draw some of his fanbase, but also the general population of fans that watch WWE, TNA, and the numerous other organizations out there. I’m sure Dana sees this as a great money making venture along side the fact that Lesnar could make waves in the division.
With that all said, his size and wrestling ability alone will topple alot of heavyweights. His striking will only improve with time, but I doubt he will be a fighter who wants to stand with guys. We should look forward to him making an impact in the division early next year. It’ll be interesting to see who they match Lesnar up with and what will happen when he faces a fighter who has an outstanding sprawl with great standup. His PPV drawing power is fairly large in the wrestling scene and I imagine a lot of fans will be wanting to see him fight in a real MMA match. Either way we look at it, Lesnar is here to stay. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of his comments when he was trying to get into the UFC. In retrospect, I realize he made those comments to spark interest. Hats off to his tactics because they worked.