HEYDORN’S TAKE: If Brock Lesnar’s UFC return is on the horizon, this is who he should fight


Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

Paul Heyman doesn’t say things just to say them. Sure, he’s been known to lie, stretch truths, and tell grandiose stories, but he does so in order to serve an agenda. These days, whether it’s in the WWE, UFC, or elsewhere, Heyman’s agenda surrounds one man: Brock Lesnar. So, when Heyman talks, we listen.

In comments to TMZ.com, Heyman said, “I think Brock Lesnar does whatever Brock Lesnar wants to do,” said Heyman. “If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in UFC, Brock Lesnar will fight in UFC. If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in WWE, he will fight in WWE. Ask Braun Strowman, ask Randy Orton, ask ‘The Undertaker,’ Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do.”

There you have it. To me, it sounds like Brock Lesnar wants to fight and fight in the UFC. Dana White is in desperate need of major stars and Lesnar certainly is that. Plus, stars are aligned and there are opponents ready and waiting to draw big numbers with him. Who are they and how should they fall? Allow me.

  1. Francis Ngannou

A Brock Lesnar vs. Francis Ngannou fight writes itself. Both are freaks of nature when it comes to their physical makeup and both have a certain flash to them that will draw eyes to their product. Ngannou’s knockout mystique coupled with Lesnar’s wrestling ability and star power make for an intriguing match up. This bout checks of the marketability box and the fight technicality box that super-fights need in order to be successful. For Lesnar’s sake, this is the fight I’d make right out of the gate. Francis Ngannou is coming off a significant loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 and a fight with Lesnar would undoubtedly help him regain any star power that he may have lost because of that outcome. In addition, Lesnar is a new name for him. Ngannou has ran through virtually all viable contenders in the heavyweight division. This fight is a fresh one that works within the rankings in the land of giants. On Lesnar’s side it makes sense too. Nobody wants to watch Brock Lesnar dust off a nobody in two minutes. The challenge with him is the fact that he needs a suitable opponent that can draw well who also lays in properly with Lesnar’s skill level. In 2016, Mark Hunt was the perfect opponent. Francis Ngannou is that guy in 2018.

  1. Jon Jones

I can see the promotion for this fight now: One steroid abuser vs. another steroid abuser.  Ok, ok, all laughs aside, this fight would be huge and outside of a Conor McGregor return, its the biggest fight the UFC has in their pocket. At this point in time, neither Jones nor Lesnar have a true place within the typical structure of the UFC weight divisions and rankings. Jones has given up his championships and all integrity due to his cheating ways and Lesnar is a floater who scoffs at structure anyway. Their pairing is more than perfect. I don’t see a scenario in which Lesnar could actually survive Jones which is why I would slot this fight second on the Lesnar return bout list. If Lesnar returns to the UFC in a losing effort against Jon Jones his aura fades for future encounters with Ngannou and others. Ngannou needs that Lesnar aura to take him and the fight to the highest levels. Jones vs. Lesnar draws no matter what due to the star power and controversy that both fighters bring to the table.

  1. Stipe Miocic

If all goes well for Lesnar in fight number one and fight number two, Stipe Miocic is fight number three. “Goes well” doesn’t have to mean victories, but it does need to mean competitiveness. If Lesnar gets destroyed by Ngannou and then mauled by Jones, his ability to draw within in the UFC is significantly weakened and a fight against Miocic is unreasonable and wasteful of Stipe. On the flip side, if Lesnar competes with Jones and is able to knock off Ngannou, who is the current number one ranked contender in the heavyweight division, a mega fight against Miocic is a logical next step. As long as Lesnar performs, it behooves the UFC to book him in fights that get bigger and bigger each time. Miocic would be the top of that mountain as in this scenario, Lesnar would once again have a chance at the UFC heavyweight championship.

Honorable Mention

Daniel Cormier – If Cormier defeats Stipe Miocic this summer, his name can be exchanged with Miocic in the above scenario and virtually all facts within it remain true.

Fabricio Werdum – If Lesnar can’t defeat Francis Ngannou and doesn’t defeat Jon Jones, a lower level fight against Werdum fits the bill.

The clock is ticking. Lesnar is 41 and though he’s in peak physical condition right now, father time is looming around the corner. That’s logical. Leave it to Heyman to defy logic. When completing his comments to TMZ, Heyman said, “He’s always ready.”

Contact Zack at heydornzack@gmail.com and follow Zack on Twitter at https://twitter.com/zheydorn

NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: UFC’s misfits set to fail in carrying UFC 221 on Saturday night

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