Okay, so it’s a little obvious in hindsight, but Brock Lesnar is now a heavyweight fighter for the UFC. There was really never any doubt that this was his goal from the beginning of his extensive MMA career. The guy definitely knows how to market himself, if nothing else. The fact that it may be more than a year before Lesnar actually fights for UFC might be why this isn’t a bigger deal in the press. But hey, we’re excited. It’s a quasi-big deal. The UFC has had some promotional misfortunes and a string of bad luck lately: Chuck Liddell has lost his last two fights and is aging rapidl and Fedor Emilianenko signed with M-1, causing UFC’s most beloved fighter, Randy Couture, to retire.
Signing Brock Lesnar doesn’t really fix any of those things. He’s a project at best and has only one professional fight under his belt. Actually, this career move eerily mirrors his appearance in the WWE. He was signed as a prospect by them as well and came in with virtually no schtick and some pretty athletic moves. After hurting a few wrestlers and nearly killing himself at Wrestlemania, he left to play professional football. It’s hard to know whether this new career choice is a real commitment for him or not.
Tell you this, though. This is most definitely a commitment from the UFC’s perspective. They badly need a star that’s young enough to have more than a few marquee fights now that the UFC is able to really market its product. Liddell is getting old, Couture is gone, Emilianenko is not coming at all, and that leaves only Rampage Jackson as a truly marketable fighter. The stable is getting thinner than maybe some have realized. Sure, there are a ton of fighters to like and who are up-and-coming, but the UFC needs developed, marketable stars, now. Plus there’s the added benefit of Lesnar not having a bad loss in the UFC for a year.
So we’ll see you in a year when Lesnar makes his debut against Tim Sylvia or Andre Arlovski after they’ve lost a couple of fights and are on the way out. Not that we’re cynical about the heavyweight division.