What is next for Brock Lesnar? That seems to be the question on the minds of a lot of UFC fans. Over the weekend Frank Mir was at a fight card, and when asked about fighting Lesnar again, reports are that Mir replied “Let’s see how Brock’s career pans out after getting his ass smashed by Cain.” I like Mir. His comeback after a terrible motorcycle accident was impressive, and he was a good announcer for the WEC (until he got into trouble for comments he made in regards to Lesnar). That doesn’t mean I want to see that fight for a third time. Mir looks like he is finished. He got beat up by Lesnar, and he got beat up again by Shane Carwin. These were not fights that Mir was in control of, and a crazy turn of events gave the win to Shane or Brock. No, he got crushed.
Brendan Schaub said after his win at UFC 121 that he would like to fight Mir. I like THAT fight. For Mir it gives him a chance to shut up his critics (like us), and show he still belongs in the discussion of top heavyweights. For Schaub it would be a chance to fight a name heavyweight who will challenge him, unlike Gabriel Gonzaga who did nothing for three rounds.
If Schaub were to fight Mir, what do you do with Brock Lesnar? I said Mir got beat up in his last two fights, and I guess the same could be said for Lesnar. Shane Carwin was giving the champ a pretty good pounding, but gassed and tapped out in the 2nd round of their fight last summer. Carwin was scheduled to fight Roy “Big Country” Nelson on January 1st, but back surgery has put him on the shelf. How about “Big Country” vs. “Big” Brock? I think that fight would be fun while it lasted. Two huge guys throwing bombs until one of them went face first into the mat, but since the guy dropping face first could easily be Lesnar, don’t count on it. Dana White sees the reaction from the crowd, and the amount of money spent when Lesnar is in the cage. Those numbers would fall off the edge of the cliff with a 2nd straight loss, so I wouldn’t expect to see this fight anytime soon.
Cain Velasquez will face Junior Dos Santos in his first title defense sometime in the spring, could Lesnar face the winner? A Velasquez-Lesnar rematch would do big business, but that would be a pretty long layoff. If Velasquez and Dos Santos fight in March, you are looking at July before Lesnar is back in action. Brock may like the time off, but I can’t imagine Dana White would want to wait that long to get one of his biggest draws back on a PPV card. So who is left?
Surprisingly, there isn’t much. I always think of the UFC having a pretty deep roster, and in a lot of divisions they do… just not heavyweight. The drop off between the top guys and the rest of the talent pool is pretty severe. Anyone want to spend $55.00 to watch Brock Lesnar vs.Cheick Kongo? How about Lesnar vs. Ben Rothwell? Me neither.
So, we have to go back to square one. The Carwin rematch would be a natural, but after spinal surgery, Carwin is going to be out indefinitely. So my guess is we do see Lesnar-Mir #3, with the winner getting a title shot in the fall. Is it the best fight for the fans? No. Is it the best fight for the UFC? Yes. There is history between the two guys, there will be plenty of trash talk, and when the dust is settled you will have plenty of other fights available. Carwin will be back, Schaub and Nelson could meet in a rematch of their Ultimate Fighter battle, and whoever loses the Velasquez/Dos Santos match, would be a nice fit for whoever is left. The UFC didn’t become as successful as they are by being bad businessmen. They know who makes money, and they match them up. In this case it’s Mir and Lesnar whether we want to see that fight or not.
There is always the WWE option for Lesnar. A weird scene happened at the end of UFC 121 when WWE superstar “The Undertaker” was caught on camera asking a beat up Lesnar..”Are we going to do this?” Lesnar gave him a blank stare for a couple of seconds before continuing on his way to the locker room. I am not even going to try to figure out what that meant, but what I have been able to figure out is the WWE wants Lesnar back for Wrestlemania next spring. Dana White came out last week and said no way he would let Lesnar wrestle again since Brock has an exclusive contract with the UFC. When numbers like 3 million dollars for one night of “wrestling” are thrown around by people in the know, you can understand why Lesnar may be interested. No training camp, no punches in the face, and a huge payday for a guy who lives way below his means in a small Minnesota town. I understand where White is coming from. It may be staged, but guys still get hurt in the WWE. Could Lesnar come in as a guest referee? Again, I have no clue, but in a role like that, he can probably knock somebody out as part of the storyline without risking physical damage to himself, while still getting paid.
There is no doubt that even in defeat Lesnar is probably the biggest lightning rod in the UFC. What happens next for the big man will be very interesting to say the least.