mma / Columns

The Road to WrestleMania… and Brock Lesnar and the UFC Heavyweights

March 12, 2019 | Posted by Evan Zivin
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Yes, I’m going to veer into pro wrestling a little bit. I’ll try not to crash into too many things along the way, mostly because WWE is doing a fine job of that without anyone else piling on, but, rest assured, I’m doing it to put focus on the UFC Heavyweight division and the suspended state of animation it currently seems to be in.

And no, that wasn’t meant as a joke about heavyweights being slow but it definitely could have been. Good catch.

Hey, if you can make it through all the “fake fighting” nonsense, I’ll let you know what my top two CM Punk fights are. #1 may surprise you…

Also, I’m not going to talk about Ronda Rousey. I said I was done with her the same way she said she was done with the MMA community and the same way she’s now pretending to be done with pro wrestling fans because portraying a condescending, holier-than-thou cliche seems to be the only character she can play that doesn’t make me want to cringe so hard I could snap a steel beam in two with my eyebrows.

Yes, pro wrestling is fake. Congrats on pointing out the obvious, Ronnie. Now hurry up and job to Becky Lynch already so you can get back to filming scenes for Total Divas or Tommy Wiseau’s next feature film or whatever you have going on that doesn’t involve being on my TV every week.

I really should be more excited right now. I mean, we’re less than a month away from Wrestlemania. This is the time of year when the hottest feuds and matchups should be reaching their boiling point but, for the most part, it hasn’t felt that way this year.

Instead of sprinting to the finish, WWE is the kid in gym class who’s overweight, out of shape, and doesn’t care that he’s walking the entire duration of the mile run. He just wants to get it done and over with because he knows lunch is next period.

Which is a shame since it’s hard to expect the event will be any good if the buildup is so severely lacking in anything engaging to anyone beyond the most committed of fans (or the fans most likely to be committed one day) but it’s not like it matters a whole lot anyway. Vince McMahon is going to do what Vince McMahon is going to do unless enough fans give him a good reason to reconsider.

For MMA fans, it doesn’t really matter how things turn out as long as one thing happens:

Brock Lesnar needs to lose.

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion has been booked quite dominantly in the WWE the last couple years, including spending over 600 days as WWE Universal Champion, a remarkable feat considering the title has only existed for two and a half years.

In his second reign with the belt, Brock is expected to next compete at Wrestlemania on April 7, where he will face Royal Rumble winner Seth Rollins. He will then hopefully lose to Rollins (or Roman Reigns or John Cena or Ronan the Accuser for all I care) and then finally address the questions about whether he’s going to fight in the UFC again or not so we can all get on with our lives.

Last year, it seemed like Brock fighting again was a sure thing. He entered the cage at UFC 226 in July, got in the face of champion Daniel Cormier and, for better or for worse, it was on.

Make no mistake, I’m not going to be the guy pretending that Brock Lesnar, a fighter who hasn’t had a legitimate win in 9 years and has yet to come back from the drug suspension he incurred as a result of his last fight at UFC 200, deserves a title shot. We all know he doesn’t.

If you like the idea of Brock challenging for Cormier’s belt, it’s either because 1) You support the kind of freak show spectacle Brock brings with him whenever he fights (worked or shoot) or 2) You support Cormier in his endeavor to get paid before he rides off into retirement, assuming he has the ability to once he’s recovered from whatever injuries he’s been dealing with.

That’s why we haven’t heard DC make much noise about when he’s getting his prize for winning the Lesnar Sweepstakes, as he’s been recovering from injuries he’s been dealing with since before his 11th hour title fight against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230.

Maybe that’s why UFC has been standing firm in letting Cormier heal up and have been working towards getting him the Brock fight instead of demanding he fight or book around him with an interim title fight, since we all know we haven’t had enough of those yet this year…

Of course, UFC knows any fight Brock agrees to will do big business. A fight with Cormier for the title, however, should do really big business.

So of course they want Brock vs. DC to happen, even if Francis Ngannou took out Cormier’s teammate Cain Velasquez in his last fight and once again resembles the unstoppable force from a year ago that could be poised to dethrone the champ in what would be a very tough clash of styles.

Even if Junior dos Santos has strung together an impressive string of wins, including his own finish of Lewis this past Saturday, and is looking to prove he has regained the form he had when he reigned as champion all those years ago.

Even if Stipe Miocic is still insistent he deserves a rematch after being the most successful UFC Heavyweight Champion in the promotion’s history. I can only imagine how many times he’s hung up the phone on his wife while driving around waiting for Dana White to get back to him with good news…

Even if Jon Jones decides he wants an actual challenge instead of continuing to pick apart the remains of the division that still hasn’t recovered from him ravaging it years ago.

WOOO!!! THIAGO SANTOS!!!

What a sec, we haven’t reached the point of having a logjam in the heavyweight division, the barren wasteland it is, have we? Or do we just think all of these guys are deserving now because it’s been over a year since we had any real progression in the division and we’re getting sick of champions who don’t appear to be active?

Which is crazy to think since Cormier only fought in November. Still, the way things are going, it could be until this November that Cormier (or whoever else, if he does still intend to retire this year) defends the championship against someone who can actually be argued to be deserving.

Hopefully it won’t take until then to learn if Brock will fight or not. We may have known already if not for Brock’s schedule filling back up with WWE appearances after Reigns left WWE to seek treatment for leukemia. The fact Reigns has since returned makes it seem like WWE won’t fall back to Brock the way they did last fall, allowing him the ability to drop the title in a month and pursue some real competition before he goes back to Vince to lick his wounds and collect another monster paycheck.

Because we all know Brock would rather be fighting for real. He still works with WWE because they’re willing to pay him ludicrous amounts of money for a severely reduced schedule where he doesn’t even have to do anything half the time because he has one of the best mouthpieces speaking for him in Paul Heyman but the man is a competitor and, as nice as it is to work for a company where the script allows him to be the best, I’m sure he’d love the opportunity to prove that he actually is the best.

Or to give us the chance to see if DC can take Brock to Suplex City, because if anyone can do it, it’s Daniel Cormier.

Seriously, why aren’t these two companies pursuing the crossover potential that Cormier vs. Lesnar: UFC Champion vs. WWE Champion, could bring to a mainstream audience? Sure, they can dip their toe in the water a little with Ronda but Cormier vs. Lesnar is where the real curiosity lies.

One of the most dominant WWE champions of the last five years, who’s also a former NCAA and UFC champion, vs. the top Pound for Pound fighter in MMA today (at least until UFC refreshes their rankings and reinserts Jones at the top) who had a mostly successful amateur and Olympic wrestling career, is undefeated as a heavyweight, and is a big fan of pro wrestling?

Get that money. Get it before I do something foolish with it, like subscribe to the WWE Network. Or ESPN+.

Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.

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Brock Lesnar, Evan Zivin