Former UFC heavyweight titleholder Brock Lesnar returns to action at UFC 141 on Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena against the only fighter in combat sports history to hold world titles in both mixed martial arts and kickboxing at the same time, Alistair Overeem.
Lesnar has been sidelined twice recently while battling diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder. In 2009, he was forced out of a scheduled bout with Shane Carwin at UFC 106 due to the illness. He was scheduled to face Junior dos Santos, who he coached opposite of during the thirteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but was removed due to a second bout with diverticulitis.
After successful surgery, Lesnar is back, and UFC president Dana White can’t be happier.
“When we went through that whole mess when he was sick, like I said back then when it was happening, as long as this guy’s healthy and going to live a normal quality of life, that’s what we were the most worried about. Think about it. It’s like I said back then. Imagine the heavyweight division with Brock Lesnar gone. It would suck. He’s back. I’m happy,” said White.
“I’m more than happy to have Brock back.”
A healthy looking Lesnar said during a recent press conference promoting the event, “I’m back and I feel good!”
With Cain Velasquez losing the title to Junior dos Santos in just 64 seconds on the UFC’s debut event on the Fox network and Shane Carwin on the mend from back surgery, the UFC heavyweight division needs a big-name draw like Lesnar. And adding Overeem doesn’t hurt either. Pitting Lesnar and Overeem against each other appeals to a world of mixed martial arts fans spanning time zones and national borders.
There’s still former champions Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with name value, but Lesnar’s return equates to more revenue and pumps some life into a deep division without a champion able to hold onto the belt for long. Whether dos Santos can, we’ll have to wait and see.
“The UFC’s heavyweight division has never looked better. It’s never been more exciting,” said the UFC president. “And I’m pretty pumped.”
“Having the best heavyweights available fighting in the UFC is a big deal,” added White. “This is the best time ever for the heavyweight division. It couldn’t be more exciting.”
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