Brock Lesnar will return to the Octagon for the first time in five years against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. The bout was announced on ESPN in a special interview.
The bout will serve as part of the epic event on July 9 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier meet to crown an undisputed light heavyweight champion the same night.
The 38-year-old Lesnar, who turns 39 a few days after UFC 200, went 5-3 over his career. He was in the main event of three UFC pay-per-views that generated over one million buys, including 1.6 million for UFC 100 in 2009.
The last time Lesnar fought was in 2011 when he lost to Alistair Overeem.
Lesnar appeared on Monday’s edition of “SportsCenter” on ESPN, 15 months after he was on the same program to say he would never fight again.
“I couldn’t live with that decision,” he said. “It was a hard decision for me to make. That decision has haunted me for the last 15 months. I figured I couldn’t live like that for the rest of my life.
“I am a big believer in living out your dreams, facing your fears. I don’t want to be sitting 20 years from now saying, ‘You should have went and did that.”
Lesnar said Hunt, a veteran of the sport, signed the contract as he was walking onto the ESPN set.
Names like Shane Carwin, Frank Mir, Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett were all rumored, but Lesnar said he had no say in who his opponent would be.
“Why not?” Lesnar said of facing Hunt. “It could be anybody. I have never turned down a fight in the UFC.”
He said a conversation with Vince McMahon, the head of the WWE where Lesnar will return after UFC 200 to perform in, led to everything coming together. When asked about why the UFC and Dana White would want him back inside the Octagon, Lesnar said “I’m big business. There’s lots of zeroes behind (the fight salary).
“Everybody’s making money. I’m a prized fighter. At the end of the day, it’s going to be an exciting show.”