It’s time to recognize Brock Lesnar for what he is. Take away the reservations of his participation in primarily sports entertainment instead of plain-old sport. Look more into the diversity of his accomplishments in combat sports. Lesnar is one of the best athletes of this generation. That may be a tough sell without diving into the minutiae of his career. I assure you after going through it, it’s not.
Let’s start by breaking down the biggest headline accomplishment of Lesnar’s career. He’s the only person to win a championship under the NCAA banner, in UFC’s octagon, and the two biggest professional wrestling promotions in the world: World Wrestling Entertainment and New Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, he’s only one of two wrestlers to hold the most prestigious belt in both WWE and NJPW, alongside AJ Styles. The one-time youngest wrestler to be a world champion in WWE hasn’t wasted any time being successful in any space.
I’m not overlooking his time as an NFL prospect in 2004. He was cut by the Minnesota Vikings after appearing in a few preseason games. His true NFL potential was never seen. A groin injury affected him the entire time, he tried to make it as a defensive lineman, despite not playing football since high school. You can call that an excuse for failing but it is the only outlier in Lesnar’s athletic career. A fully healthy Lesnar is capable of destruction seen on every NFL Sunday, evidenced by his brutality in the UFC.
It’s almost unprecedented for anyone’s second professional fight to be in the top mixed martial arts organization in the world. Yet, the 6-foot-3, 265- lb. Lesnar didn’t hesitate, taking on a former UFC Heavyweight Champion in Frank Mir at UFC 81. He took down Mir in less than 10 seconds and may have finished him if not for an accidental strike to the back of the head in less than a minute. Proving he wasn’t just a wrestler, Lesnar knocked down Mir with a jab less than 10 seconds into being reset and nearly won via TKO, again. Lesnar’s inexperience cost him, getting tapped out after not securing the finish.
After destroying Heath Herring and Randy Couture to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion himself, he avenged the loss to Mir, winning via TKO at UFC 100, reminiscent of what could’ve happened in their first fight. After a second title defense over Shane Carwin, Lesnar was knocked out in his final two UFC fights. In the ever-evolving world of MMA, he didn’t adjust quick enough. But his star power and ability changed the sport. His strength as a box-office draw is evidence of his unique talent. That’s why Dana White called him to return to the octagon for UFC 200, after nearly five years away from the sport. And he beat Mark Hunt.
In professional wrestling, results are predetermined. Duh. You can’t be the top guy in any national promotion without having an elite look, and more importantly, backing it up with your actions. Brock’s one of two wrestlers to hold WWE world championships in the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s, with Randy Orton being the other. One thing that can’t be fake are Lesnar’s feats of strength. Lifting 500 lb. Big Show over his head several times? Easy for Lesnar.
Taking opponents to “Suplex City” is more than a catchphrase. The stamina and consistency needed to land more than a dozen German suplexes per match is insane. And these aren’t light opponents Lesnar is throwing around. The average WWE heavyweight is well over 230 lbs with some going 300 lbs. or more. That gives legitimacy back to his amateur days, going 106-5 in college, including an NCAA Championship in 2000.
Has Lesnar proved himself in non-choreographed situations? At every turn. Dinging his overall athletic ability because he’s spent so much time in WWE isn’t a valid counter argument. Ronda Rousey might be a garbage human being, but her ability in the UFC changed combat sports. And her current boring WWE run doesn’t change that. Lesnar whoops ass at every turn and is one of the dominant athletes of this generation.
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