When Brock Lesnar left the UFC in
2001 (just ignore that) 2011, suffering from recurring diverticulitis, the idea that he’d ever be on his way back to the UFC, or even MMA, seemed remote. By the time 2016 rolled around, he’d been gone from combat sports for more than 4 years, was running up on 40, and seemed well in the rear view mirror of MMA fandom.
Then, of course, he came back.
Lesnar returned at UFC 200 to fight Mark Hunt. What was initially supposed to be a mid-card PPV highlight ended up elevated to the co-main event, as both Jon Jones and Conor McGregor were pulled from the card in the months (and days) leading up to fight night. Lesnar was also granted an exemption by USADA from the prolonged testing window required for new entries into the UFC (something that is routinely granted to new fighters coming in on short notice for events).
That exemption ended up to be a bit of a black eye, however, as Lesnar failed a pair of drug tests surrounding the event. The result was that his UFC 200 win over Mark Hunt was turned to a no contest, Lesnar ended up with a 1-year suspension, and eventually Brock once again went into retirement.
The question is, was it for good this time? As Wrestling Observer reports, Lesnar has been re-entered into the USADA testing pool. So as far as the drug testing agency is concerned, he’s no longer officially retired. Whether he actually fights again in MMA is another matter altogether.
Initial speculation was that the UFC wanted to bring Lesnar back for their next big Madison Square Garden show in November, but due to his re-activated one year suspension (with 5 months remaining), Brock can’t possibly fight before December. At 40 years old, the clock is ticking, but with WME-IMG in need of more top drawing stars, the door for a Brock Lesnar return will likely stay open for a while longer. And as of now it looks like something the former UFC champion is willing to consider.