Evaluating the Champs: Brock Lesnar
Finalizing our look at the champions of the UFC this week, today we’ll look at current heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar.
Between UFC 64 and UFC 83, a period of less than two years, there were a total of eight title changes across each weight class. Compare that to the UFC of today, where you will find the combined length of title reign for the five champions is well over 3000 days.
What a difference a few years makes.
Right now, the UFC finds itself on uncommon ground. All five of their champions are the best in the world in their weight class (a guy who defeats recycled UFC champions for lesser promotions is not the top heavyweight in the world anymore…sorry), and honestly, there are very few guys out there that will challenge any of these champs.
Simply put, the UFC is in the midst of a historical era in mixed martial arts. Breaking it down:
- Of the five champions, three are a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame (arbitrary I know, but BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, and Georges St. Pierre would make any MMA Hall of Fame)
- Taking it one step further, you’d have a hard time arguing these three are not the greatest fighters of all-time in their weight classes
- The other two (Lyoto Machida and Brock Lesnar) are both very early on in their career, yet already look like they could some day be HOF worthy
- Three guys are a fight away from completely cleaning out their division (Silva and GSP are probably already there)
- None of the above 5 have lost a fight in the last two years, except for BJ, but his lone loss came from fellow champ GSP
Impressive to say the least.
Nonetheless, as good as these guys are, they will all taste defeat at some point. It’s the nature of the sport, and everyone is one punch or one bad decision away from being beaten. So while it will happen, who knows when or by who? Hopefully this primer will help figure that out.
Brock Lesnar – 4-1
How He Got Here – def. Randy Couture via TKO on November 15, 2008
Title Defenses – 1 (Frank Mir)
What Makes Him So Good?
With a superhero physique and an unparalleled wrestling background, no one in the world can quite match up with Brock’s overwhelming abilities. Now with a couple years of MMA experience under his belt, his striking has greatly improved, and he is so large and powerful that he hasn’t had to worry about the quality of his jiu jitsu.
Simply put, he is a freak.
What It Will Take To Beat Him
Brock proved that he is, in fact, of this earth when he was sidelined recently with diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder. While it remains to be seen if this will affect his in ring ability upon his return, there is sure to be serious ring rust for the heavyweight champ. It may take a fight or two for him to get back to 100%, but once he does, it will take some kind of fighter to beat him.
No one in MMA has a bigger ego than Lesnar, and that could be his biggest weakness. The only blemish on his record came from being overconfident and a little too brazen after crushing Frank Mir for over a minute. He got a little ahead of himself, and it led to an easy knee bar for Mir. Its reasonable to think this could again be a problem for the champ, although I would hope he learned his lesson the first time.
Also, Brock has yet to really be tested, so we don’t know what kind of jaw he has or how he would deal with adversity. Victory would have to come standing up, as no one outside of a Frank Mir knee-bar could keep the fight in the mat. It would take a true heavyweight with a solid stand-up game in order to keep Brock at a distance, either by peppering him with punches or by landing a haymaker that could send the champ to the mat.
So Who’s Next?
Unfortunately, the man to take Brock out is the man who may never fight in The Octagon: Fedor Emelianenko. While many consider him the top heavyweight in the world, it has been a long time since he fought a top heavyweight still in their prime. His stand-up is as good as you can find at 265 and until he loses, you have to consider him at the top of his division. It would be a must-see battle.
Shane Carwin will be an interesting fight for Brock. Anyone that saw his demolition of Frank Mir knows that he has the kind of powerful hands that can put anyone down in one punch. Also a former NCAA Wrestling Champion, Carwin is built very similarly to Brock. Any sort of ring rust could be deadly for Brock, as Carwin’s relentless hands and his ability to finish fights very quickly will give Brock very little leeway. Brock better shake it off quickly, or his night could end abruptly.
Outside of these two, Cain Velasquez and Bobby Lashley are two more interesting matchups. Velazquez has been on a tear, coming off an outstanding performance against ‘Minotauro.’ Many view him as the future of the heavyweight division, and it’s easy to see why. He will be a champion someday. The intriguing aspect of Lashley vs. Brock goes beyond their pro wrestling past. Both are physical freaks who are outstanding wrestlers. If his skills in the octagon mature the same way Brock’s did, then this would be a hell of a fight.