Brock Lesnar is the UFC Heavyweight champion along with Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira.
Lesnar holds the UFC heavyweight belt – does that make sense?
In a sport that is vying with boxing for pay per view ratings supremacy and mainstream acceptance, someone with a grand total of four professional fights is on top of the premier division in the sport.
Quickly name another professional mainstream sport where the competitor can win three of their first four matches and be the champ. Sure golf, tennis and other individual professional sports have the occasional Cinderella story where a nobody comes along and wins a tournament but that still would not put them number one in the rankings overall. That type of accomplishment in almost every other mainstream pro sport takes months and months if not years of battling it out and clawing your way to the top.
Not in the heavyweight division of the UFC. Four fights.
Recapping the steps Lesnar took to becoming crowned the best in the division:
1. An easy opening opponent
2. A loss to someone with talent
3. A smothering of Heath Herring
4. A victory over a legend in the sport but who respectfully is no longer in his prime
5. May we present you with your belt Mr. Champion
Taking nothing away from Lesnar – he is a physical specimen of shocking speed, strength and flexibility for someone his size – but the UFC needs to have greater depth in their heavyweight division if they want to smash pay-per-view records going forward.
For the diehard MMA fan, Lesnar is a champion that brings on mixed emotions. On one hand he is a freak of nature that causes jaw to drop as he walks into the cage.
On the other hand, he represents what the sport of MMA initially set out to disprove – that the big men can be submitted through technical superiority by their smaller but more skilled counterparts. Instead, as Randy Couture put it at the end of UFC91, Lesnar is just “one big sumbitch” that is tough for the talented MMA fighters to game plan around.
Congratulations goes out to Lesnar but at the same time the UFC needs to continue to find and groom top talent in the heavyweight division to maintain credibility in the mainstream.
We hear you Brock – now let’s make sure we continue to hear from others.