Ever since he left the octagon following his bout with Mark Hunt on 9 July 2016, one of the biggest talking points for mixed martial arts and wrestling fans alike has been about Brock Lesnar’s next move. On 8 June 2019, we finally got the answer that we were looking for: Brock Lesnar accepted a better deal from the WWE to rule out a return to the UFC.
WWE fans had long been craving for Lesnar to make a definite and permanent move back to the organisation due to him holding onto the Universal Championship for so long despite being relatively inactive. Big showcase defences against the likes of Roman Reigns held Lesnar is high esteem, but on 7 April, he lost the WWE Universal strap to Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 35.
The ‘Beast Incarnate’ has since become Mr Money in the Bank, a title taken on 19 May, and appears to be back in the swing of things in the WWE. Something that fight fans will remiss is the fact that his rivalry with Daniel Cormier, which had been cooking for a long time, never came to fruition in the octagon.
Cormier stated that their meet at UFC 226 could have been the foundations for a great event, but he can’t help it if Lesnar wanted to return to leave mixed martial arts and move back to wrestling full-time.
Daniel Cormier is a huge WWE fan and has shown throughout his MMA career that he possesses incredible wrestling fundamentals which could make him a formidable contender in the organisation.
He’s said before that he thinks he may be too old for the WWE, at 40 years old, but executive vice president of talent, live events and creative Triple H has been spotted laying down the groundwork to potentially draw Cormier into the WWE, and maybe get that Lesnar vs Cormier super-fight.
Growing a rivalry in the UFC
For a long time, Lesnar had exchanged in some verbal sparring with Cormier, who stood as the simultaneous two-weight division champion of the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions in the UFC.
At UFC 226, Lesnar entered into the octagon – after Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic in the first round – to face off with the heavyweight champ, shoving the former Olympian to kick-off the hype, as shown by MMA Fighting.
Lesnar re-entered the USADA testing pool and passed on every occasion, but on 10 June, the UFC president Dana White, as reported by TalkSport, had to announce that the WWE had offered the superstar a better deal, making him retire from the sport.
Cormier has also chimed in on Lesnar’s decision by siding with the 6’3’’ behemoth, but also leaving a few spikes to goad his rival. As recorded on 23 June by TMZ Sports, Cormier stated that he fully understands Lesnar taking the WWE money, especially as the alternative was to fight him in the UFC in which he would try to “kick [his] ass,” concluding that it was “the smart decision.”
The etched summer clash between Lesnar and Cormier has since been rebooked as a colossal rematch between Cormier and Miocic, which, if Cormier wins, could be the perfect sign-off to his MMA career. As of 11 July, Cormier is 4/6 with Betway to beat the 6/5 Miocic on 18 August, so the champion is expected to move to a 22-1 record.
With a 23-1 record, being a former simultaneous two-weight champion, standing as the reigning heavyweight champion, and having defeated many top-class fighters, the 40-year-old could retire as a legend from MMA if he defeats Miocic again. If this does occur, Triple H has already proposed a potential new career for the 5’1’’ Californian.
Triple H opens the door to Cormier
As noted, Daniel Cormier is a big WWE fan, which Triple H already appears to be pandering to by publically opening the door to the UFC heavyweight champion for a switch to pro wrestling.
At the ESPY Awards, which saw Cormier claim the inaugural award for best MMA fighter, according to Sherdog, the cameras caught a meeting between the WWE executive vice president of talent and the UFC champion, which resulted in a short but potentially telling interview with the two massive men.
In the interview, Cormier noted that he was hoping to fight Brock Lesnar in the octagon, but that “these guys [Triple H and the WWE] took him from me.” He added that he might have to follow Lesnar to the WWE to finally get the bout, to which Triple H added: “It’s not too late.”
Triple H had clearly been following the Cormier and Lesnar saga as well as Cormier’s former comments about being too old for the WWE. The master negotiator has put his line out with the right bait and could potentially pull together the huge Lesnar vs Cormier battle that even the UFC couldn’t create.