MCGRATH: The table is set for Cormier-Lesnar, but is that the true money match?

By David McGrath, MMATORCH contributor

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Lesnar was defeated at Wrestlemania 35 Sunday night. The loss signalled the end of Lesnar’s latest WWE championship run. It’s interesting to note that Lesnar’s advocate/attorney/mouthpiece or whatever, Paul Heyman got on the mic before the match against challenger Seth Rollins and said his ”client” is going back to Vegas where he is ”Ultimately” appreciated. Lesnar did the right thing for business. If he is truly eyeing an August matchup with UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, then losing the title to the smaller Rollins was the right thing to do.

I am still a little confused as to how the UFC and Cormier think that bringing Lesnar from WWE and having him jump the entire heavyweight division is a ”Money” move. Lesnar, who last fought in the octagon at UFC 200. A borefest win over overrated heavyweight Mark Hunt that had to be vacated due to Lesnar failing a drug test. Lesnar has 5-3 professional MMA record with 1 no contest. He has wins over Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, and Randy Couture. Cormier is a well decorated all-time great mixed martial artist with a soap opera rivalry with consensus great Jon Jones. That is where my question lies. Do the UFC and Cormier believe that 41-year-old Brock Lesnar who has not won in the octagon since 2010 is really a money fight bigger than what Jones moving up to face Cormier for the heavyweight strap would do?

My answer to that is no. I think the UFC is banking on the WWE audience following Lesnar over. Ask any WWE fan if Lesnar is hot right now. I will wait. He is nowhere close to as hot as he was even two years ago. The reason Lesnar was once a big draw on pay-per-view for the UFC is that he was a true killer at that time. It was not because he was once a WWE champion, or because he was the youngest WWE champion. Nobody cares about any of that if you’re a true MMA hardcore. I am a true MMA hardcore, and prior to Brock’s debut in the UFC, I had zero knowledge of Lesnar’s wrestling credentials in the WWE.

The other problem I have with Lesnar-Cormier is that Cormier is such a class above Lesnar as a mixed martial artist. Cormier has lost to one person: Jon Jones. Jones is highly regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist to ever live. There is no suspense to a Lesnar-Cormier matchup to me. The outcome, much like WWE outcomes would seem predetermined. Lesnar at 41, or at any age, does not look like he has the chops to hang with a Daniel Cormier. So where’s the money in this matchup? Other than the curiosity of seeing how Lesnar looks against DC, I do not see the money in this matchup, nor do I see the appeal.

Jones and Cormier on the other hand, is still very appealing. How could Jones-Cormier III be appealing when Jones has won both of the matchups thus far you ask? Cormier is a different animal at heavyweight. Lest we forget Cormier won the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix well before he was in the UFC. Cormier was so impressive finishing Stipe Miocic last July. Stipe, by the way, had the most title defences in UFC heavyweight history. Cormier’s hands look so heavy at this weight. His wrestling is always there. I mean the man was an Olympian. Look at how he finished perennial sound byte machine Derrick Lewis in November at Madison Square Garden. He proved a class above taking Lewis’s back and choking him. Lewis looked like a fish out of water, and Cormier downed him quick.


Ask pro wrestling fans what sells more, personal issues or title belts? Ten out of ten times it is personal issues. Who has more personal issues then Jones and Cormier? Jones has been the Joker to Cormier’s Batman forever. The only problem is the bad guy has won both times, convincingly. What is appealing about this fight at heavyweight, is that Jones and Cormier may be physical equals at that weight. No one knows what Jones will look and fight like bulked up.

We have seen Daniel Cormier be tremendously successful at his natural weight. The thought of Cormier be able to slay his professional dragon and walk off into the sunset is both tantalizing and poetic. The thought of a manufactured Cormier-Lesnar money grab does nothing for me. The UFC would be smart if Brock Lesnar wants to come back to their ranks to hand him over to a Top 5 contender. Like a Francis Ngannou or a Derrick Lewis. Both of those fights would sell, and their fun match-ups. leave DC out of it, he has unfinished business to tend to and more money to make.

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