Dave Meltzer's history in covering pro wrestling may be the reason that he's had some of the most insightful things to say on the retirement of Brock Lesnar, but the hits keep on coming. In his most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer newsletter, Meltzer talks about Lesnar's legacy and what he would do to champions from the UFC's past.
From the newsletter:
The next question is Lesnar's legacy. Most have been positive about it. The reality is he was an amazing athlete who won the title despite inexperience and a long layoff from competitive sports, succeeding based on athletic ability and a lifetime of wrestling to beat some solid people at their own game.
Others, whether blinded by their hate for Lesnar, pro wrestling, or UFC, have used this loss to say he was never any good, and discredit him. Some have written he was the worst UFC heavyweight champion in history, which is beyond laughable. If you line up every UFC champion in history, when they were champion vs. what short window of prime Lesnar had, Lesnar beats most of them almost every time. He'd pound Shamrock, Severn, Coleman, Randleman, Smith, Rodriguez, Sylvia and Mir into the mat when all of them were champions. He'd struggle with Couture before beating him the majority of the time if not almost every time. He'd beat the Josh Barnett when Barnett was champion, although I'm not sure what would happen if he fought today's Barnett. He'd lose most of the time to Cain Velasquez, because that's a bad style match for him. He may not beat Junior Dos Santos either, and as the sport evolves, he wouldn't beat the majority of the champions of the future. He was a legitimate champion for his time, even though he had major holes in his game, and brought a ton of new fans to the sport, and drew more than anyone in history.
I'm not really sure what the grand point of saying he'd beat men from a different era is. Guys like Shamrock, Mo Smith, Dan Severn and so on are hardly men that Lesnar's ability to dominate is particularly meaningful when discussing legacy.
Still, Lesnar's accomplishments shouldn't be diminished. What he was able to do with his experience level was impressive. When I wrote the article questioning his retirement and legacy across all his endeavors it wasn't meant to belittle what he did achieve.
That being said, I think it's fair to question how good he truly was or could have been given that we can't really know if the same results would have happened against Velasquez and Overeem had Lesnar not had the issues with diverticulitis.