Rumors that Brock Lesnar would be making yet another UFC return have been circulating for a while now. Dana White has been eager to tell fans and media that the former heavyweight champion and WWE superstar would likely be back sometime late this year. Following UFC 226, it looks like he’s at least half right.
Lesnar took the Octagon by storm following Daniel Cormier’s KO win over Stipe Miocic, dumping on Francis Ngannou’s terrible performance and Miocic’s knockout loss before calling out the newly minted champ. Lesnar is back, and the UFC’s plan is to have him fight Cormier for the heavyweight title. But, by all accounts, it just isn’t going to happen this year.
“No,” Dana White replied flatly during a post-UFC 226 media scrum, when asked if Lesnar had secretly been added to the USADA pool in the previous months – so as to speed his UFC return. “The process has been going on all week. So, he’s either in it now or about to be in it.”
White went on to confirm that, having just started his re-entry to drug testing, that puts Lesnar 6 months out from a return to competition (following the conclusion of his 12-month suspension for a failed drug test against Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in 2016). Lesnar removed himself from the USADA program – effectively retiring – halfway through the suspension, and returned to his pro wrestling career.
That all backs up a report from MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer, who recently dropped this tidbit on Lesnar’s return:
Brock Lesnar was not in the UFC’s drug testing pool as of this past week. He is in the process of doing so, which means the earliest he would be able to fight would be the late January PPV show. WWE was certainly aware of what happened. We had reported weeks ago that this was something that UFC wanted (Lesnar to in person challenge the winner) and that the idea was open, but we didn’t know for sure until yesterday afternoon that Lesnar was coming.
Apparently Lesnar has one last match left on his WWE contract (which expires in August) before he’ll be free to focus solely on his return to UFC title contention. Brock has only competed once in MMA since 2011 – his now infamous overturned win over Mark Hunt. He currently stands at 5-3 (1 NC) as a professional in mixed martial arts.
In the meantime, Cormier is already talking about potential fights he could take in a return to light heavyweight while waiting for his bout with the former champ. So it just may be that Cormier’s plan of having two last fights before retirement could end with his bout against Lesnar early next year.