Wow, boy am I glad there was a pun left for me from the scraps of Fanpost headlines!
So, Brock Lesnar.
Brockle Snar. Brocky Balboa. The Brockness Monster. The Brock of Gibraltar.The Brocky Mountains.
The Brocktopus. Brighton Brock. Sex, Drugs and Brock and Roll. Um, The Brock.
OK, that's enough.
I don't like Brock Lesnar. Originally, I didn't like him in a serious kind of way. I didn't like the way he stomped into the UFC and predicted great things for himself. Perhaps because deep down in my intestines, I knew he was right? Who likes it when a giant monster of a man says "I'm going to beat everyone up"?
It's just too predictable. It's not exciting. It's like kids playing cops and robbers with cool plastic guns and then ED-209 from Robocop clomps over, obliterates them with dual shoulder-mounted cannons and then kicks an old lady in the face.
Now, though, I still don't like him, but in a non-serious and enjoyable way. He's a lovable heel, and I am looking forward to seeing who can beat him. And, after UFC 116, I have to give him my begrudging respect as a legitimate champion. I respect him for surviving the beatdown from Carwin and then choking him out. I respect him for keeping a rein on his planet-sized ego and giving a good post-fight interview with just the right amount of salt and pepper.
But most of all, I respect him for making the UFC heavyweight division feel exciting again.
I had not been excited for a UFC heavyweight fight, and the potential matchups afterwards, for a long time.
In Pride, the 2004 Heavyweight GP was exciting. Fedor vs. Cro Cop, and Fedor's battles with Nogueira got me dangerously pumped, but the UFC? Not so much. Looking back over the champions of recent years, only Randy Couture's fights really filled me (and my pants) with pump.
Going back further... Tim Sylvia vs. Jeff Monson? Yawn!
Andrei Alrovski vs. Paul Buentello? Snoring with some drool coming out!
Tim Sylvia vs. Gan McGee?! Change the channel, Marge!
OK, I'm being a little harsh, but it was my personal opinion that the heavyweight division was lacking in excitement for a while. It's one of the reasons Fedor and the Pride heavyweights were receiving so much praise: because, in comparison to what was going on in the UFC (angry Russian badger vs. guy who pooped his pants and cried in an argument with Matt Hughes), they were gods among men.
Things started heating up when Brock came on the scene and Mir made his comeback. The division showed signs of life. And now, it has blossomed into a full-blown orgy of potentially gargantuan heavyweight violence.
We've got Brock standing atop a heap of crumpled bodies. Cain Velasquez waiting in the wings - a ferocious heavyweight with skill and experience. Frank Mir is still hungry for another suckle on Brocktopus's tentacles. Noguiera still has the skills and resilience to pose a threat. Shane Carwin will be back and more prepared. Roy Nelson, Cro Cop, Tod Duffee... it's the first time I could even name more than five UFC heavyweights I gave a crap about.
Fedor will most likely never make it into the UFC, but it doesn't bother me so much any more.
I accept Brock Lesnar as the heavyweight champion of the universe, long may he lord over us.