Brock Lesnar isn’t always taken seriously on account of his high-profile past as a professional wrestler, a side of him which comes out at times when he’s hyping a fight, but the NCAA Division-1 standout has proven himself a true champion in MMA, even with just seven fights to his credit.
The 34-year-old, 6’3″ behemoth continues to battle back from adversity, inside and outside of the cage. After making a successful professional debut, Lesnar met former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 81, losing to the seasoned vet by submission after nearly pounding him through the canvas in the early goings of the fight.
Instead of giving up on his MMA career as a lark, Lesnar roared back to action to defeat Heath Herring via lopsided unanimous decision and then take out UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture to win the UFC heavyweight championship just four fights into his professional career. Lesnar would go on to defend his belt to Frank Mir, absolutely battering his rival en route to a second-round TKO win, and then put on a career-defining performance against Shane Carwin.
Lesnar would be sidelined with possible permanence after initially being matched up with Carwin, having been stricken with the life-threatening intestinal ailment diverticulitis. Lesnar would undergo surgery to correct the ailment and suffer through several months not knowing whether or not he would ever be able to return to the cage. Eventually, he received a doctor’s clearance and geared up to meet then-interim champ Shane Carwin, who had left a trail of opponents knocked out behind him on the way to the belt.
Carwin was clearly on a mission to take Lesnar’s true title, as he quickly put the champ on the defensive with heavy punches and ended up spending most of the round thrashing Lesnar from cagepost to cagepost, always just one solid shot or two away from ending Lesnar’s championship run. Though he was bleeding and battered, Lesnar managed to survive the 10-8 round to make it back to his stool, which he got up off of smiling to head into the second round. Displaying the championship heart that has now defined his career, Lesnar went right after a tiring Carwin and put him away with a submission in short order.
Lesnar would lose the belt in his third title defense against Cain Velasquez, bested by Velasquez’s superior striking and grappling awareness. What would follow from there would be yet another test of Lesnar’s dedication to MMA. He was afflicted for the second time with complications from diverticulitis, forcing him out of a planned bout with Junior dos Santos and again leaving the future of his career in limbo. After another surgery, in which a twelve-inch piece of his colon was removed, Lesnar was expected to announce his retirement any day, but instead he signed on to face Strikeforce’s last heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem this December 30.
Already a supremely wealthy man, Lesnar has no need to return to the Octagon to prove anything to anyone but himself. He is a true competitor with heart and probably summed things up best himself when he said, “I was born this way. It ain’t an act, and it’s not a line. There’s nobody out there like me. I was born to do this, and I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”
Lesnar is set to do battle with Overeem on Friday, December 30 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.