The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced the return of WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar during the UFC 199 broadcast on Saturday night. The former heavyweight champion will make his return to the Octagon in the co-main event of the promotion’s blockbuster UFC 200 fight card on July 9 in Las Vegas.
Lesnar appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Monday morning to reveal that the opponent for his return would be Mark Hunt.
“I think he just signed the contract as we were walking in here (for the ESPN interview), but I do believe it’s done. On July 9, at UFC 200, I’ll be facing Mark Hunt,” said Lesnar, indicating that he didn’t care who the UFC wanted him to fight in his return.
Although he told ESPN 15 months ago, “I’m officially closing the door on MMA,” Lesnar couldn’t stay away from the Octagon. There was a feeling of wondering what could have been, and he couldn’t live his life with that lingering over him.
“I couldn’t live with that decision. It was a hard decision for me to make. That decision has haunted me for the last 15 months. I couldn’t live like that for the rest of my life,” said Lesnar.
“I don’t want to be sitting 20 years from now going, ‘You know what son, you should’ve went and did that.’ On the biggest stage of all, I was on UFC 100, so why not be on UFC 200.”
Lesnar made a miraculous run in the UFC, entering the Octagon with just one prior mixed martial arts bout to his credit. Although his tenure was cut short after battling a digestive disorder called diverticulitis, Lesnar accomplished a lot in his seven trips to the Octagon.
During that brief time, he captured the UFC heavyweight championship by defeating UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, and defended it against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
Struggling with the complications of diverticulitis, Lesnar lost back to back bouts to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem before returning to professional wrestling. The fight at UFC 200 will be his first since Dec. 30, 2011.
“This was very simple. This was me sitting having a cup of coffee at my farm in Canada (immediately after closing the door on MMA),” Lesnar recounted.
“It haunted me because at the top of my career, I wasn’t at the top of my game. In my mind, I never lost to my opponent, I lost to diverticulitis. My performance was due to the illness. I’m sitting here today, I feel 1,000-percent (healthy).”