The UFC heavyweight division is still populated with monsters. Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos —these men are all beasts, but they’re not stars. Brock Lesnar was a star. He rampaged through the division unlike any other. He even was a huge draw after returning from years of being out to earn a win against top-10 heavyweight Mark Hunt. No matter what, the UFC’s door is always going to be open to a guy like that, but would he ever come back? Jim Ross doesn’t think so.
“I were advising him – I’m not by the way – I would say, you’re going to leave to do what? Are you going to leave to retire and not do anything but hunt and raise your sons and be a good husband to your wife? I don’t know, are you going to launch another career? Some guys like to do that, sometimes they need new challenges. I read that he might be the son of the, in the Rocky movie, (Apollo) Creed’s opponent that got beat by the Russian guy and he may play that Russian guy’s son. I read that. I had no idea if that was even true, but I don’t know why you’d even want to leave. He’s got a beautiful schedule, he’s making well north of seven figures a year, and he works part-time and he has fun. I don’t know why you would… I would say this, it might answer your question with a question, leave to do what that’s better? Plus, he can still be contracted to WWE and make movies or things like that. I don’t see him getting back into MMA. Now, I might be wrong on that one, but I don’t see that being a fit for him going forward.”
— Paul Heyman (@HeymanHustle) August 4, 2017
“He’s been there, done that. He got that one more match when he beat Mark Hunt at UFC 200 – I was there by the way, so I saw it in person – he’s 39, what is he 40? You know, MMA fans jones about Lesnar being gone because the MMA in general is lacking superstars, they’re lacking box office attractions. They’re no different than any pro wrestling promotion in the world, their job is to create superstars that people demand to see more of. And right now, of course with the fighting as it is, you’re lucky to have three fights a year if you stay healthy, and there are no major stars that are early 20’s, young guys who are like the next big thing. I don’t know who that is. And everybody’s got an opinion, but the MMA world in general, the reason people are jonesing for Lesnar is because they’ve got nobody better to cheer for right now. That’s why they wanted Georges St-Pierre back, that’s why they want Cain Velasquez back in the ring, they want Conor McGregor to fight again.”
What Jim Ross says hits home. Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey. These fighters are all gone for the time being. Which is one of the reason the UFC made a deal to get Georges St-Pierre back in action. …And a reason why Brock Lesnar returning to MMA is never out of the question. It’s also easy to see why the UFC are pouring their promotional power and crossing their fingers with Francis Ngannou. They have a chance to make this young heavyweight into a huge star, which could also open up the gates to the African MMA market. The UFC needs stars and they’ll look to create one when Ngannou gets his shot at the heavyweight title at UFC 220.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/16/2017.