Less than 48 hours after the announcement that Brock Lesnar will return to the Octagon to co-headline July’s UFC 200 event, his opponent was been named.
Despite rumours of a potential fight with Frank Mir, Shane Carwin or even Josh Barnett, the current WWE superstar and former UFC Heavyweight Champion will be taking on Mark ‘The Super Samoan’ Hunt.
Any thoughts that Lesnar would take an easy fight, or a fight against a safe opponent, were dispelled instantly with the announcement.
Mark Hunt is known for his ‘walk off knock outs’ where he delivers a shot that knocks his opponent senseless, only to walk away confident that the one shot was enough to finish the fight.
As many opponents have found out, one shot is all it takes.
Lesnar, a wrestler, was stopped via strikes in his final two fights in the UFC, losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem.
The returning Lesnar was also on the receiving end of an assault from Shane Carwin in the fight prior to his two losses, although he was able to overcome the onslaught and tap the tiring Carwin out in round two.
Mark Hunt is a dangerous opponent for any member of the heavyweight division, let alone a man who has not competed in MMA in many years, and a man whose chin was questioned in his final fights.
Lesnar was recovering from a life threatening illness and looked to have lost his killer instinct in his final two fights, but he will have to overcome ring rust and any remaining doubts as well as one of the best pure strikers in MMA.
Hunt is coming off two straight round one knock out finishes of Frank Mir and Antonio Silva. Mir is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and Silva has competed for the UFC title.
Despite the hype that Lesnar will bring into the fight, Hunt has opened as a heavy favourite and will be confident of being able to catch the former champion.
Lesnar has spent the last few years dominating all before him in the WWE ring, capitalising on his UFC exploits and impressive and intimidating look, but neither will help him when he stands looking across at the adopted Aussie.
I am perhaps Brock Lesnar’s biggest fan, but this is a huge risk, both for his health and his WWE character.
A loss would not extinguish the image of Lesnar as a killer, after all this is a man who once ruled the UFC Heavyweight division, however a knock out loss would tarnish his immediate WWE future.
Lesnar, who is tipped to take up a major role on the WWE’s major Summer pay-per-view event Summerslam, could even conceivably miss the event if seriously injured.
To be honest I did not see this announcement coming. I fully expected Lesnar to accept a genuine challenge, however not one as dangerous as Hunt.
A win for Hunt could see him catapulted into the title scene once again. Although Lesnar is returning from a long layoff from the sport, he is still Brock Lesnar, and is a bigger name than any UFC heavyweight on the current roster.
Lesnar should hold a massive advantage in terms of wrestling, and you’d have to favour the ‘Beast Incarnate’ if the match was to hit the mat.
Hunt’s take down defence is almost as important to his chances of winning as his right and left fists, however he has improved that part of his game immensely.
This fight is one that far exceeds most expectations of Lesnar’s return. Hunt has nothing to lose and much to gain.
A win could see him line up a title fight, possibly in Melbourne at the end of the year. A loss to a former UFC Champion does him no harm.
As for Lesnar, win/lose or draw, he’s contracted to the WWE for the next two-plus years. A win will make his WWE character all the stronger, while a loss could see a weakness added to Lesnar’s character we are yet to see.
This is a mouth-watering fight and just how it ends if anybody’s guess.