While Brock Lesnar continues to recover from another bout with diverticulitis, he gave an interview with The Wrestling Press (via WrestlingINC.com) where he discussed how World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) helped make him a fast star in the world of MMA.
Lesnar, a former UFC heavyweight champion, has been sidelined since losing his title to Cain Velasquez in October of last year. He took part in the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter, but due to the diverticulitis was unable to fight fellow coach Junior dos Santos.
Lesnar (5-2) had just three professional MMA fights under his belt when he was given a shot at Hall of Famer Randy Couture and the UFC title at UFC 91. After earning a second-round TKO, he went on to unify the title by toppling Frank Mir – also by second-round TKO.
Mir had been crowned champion on an interim basis after Lesnar was forced out for an extended period of time due to illness.
His ascension up the rankings surprised many, but his fan appeal and name recognition are what got him in the UFC spotlight.
“I’m not stupid – without the WWE, the WWE made me a household name and increased my value tenfold before I even pursued the UFC,” Lesnar said. “Could I be where I am today without the WWE? Probably not. Could I be drawing the same numbers that I’m drawing? Probably not. I brought a lot of fans over, a lot of crossover fans that I brought, just from the general public and WWE fans, I believe.”
In a recent ESPN The Magazine article listing the highest paid athletes based on base salary and earnings for the past year, Lesnar topped the MMA charts at $5.3 million. That figured included both his salary and estimated pay-per-view bonuses.
As for the main difference between the UFC and the WWE, Lesnar pointed that out as well.
“These guys, they just don’t have another life (WWE superstars). When they go home, they really can’t get out of tune with their on-stage persona,” Lesnar said. “There’s really no time. I think the biggest things is there’s really no downtime for the human body to recover, and more importantly, for their mind to recover where you’re constantly on the road, and in a program where you can’t get outside to take an outside look at what’s going on – guys resort to all kinds of extracurricular activities.”
While Lesnar continues to wait and recover, dos Santos will get his chance at Velasquez when the two meet for the heavyweight title at UFC 139 in San Jose, California on November 19.