- With his WWE contract expiring, Brock Lesnar has two options: stay in pro wrestling or take one final swing at a UFC career.
- Given that a return to the octagon is more likely, will Lesnar lose the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam?
- If Lesnar does return to MMA, will he fight in 2018 and what are the odds he takes on fellow PED-user Jon Jones?
It’s been almost two months since Brock Lesnar last defended his WWE Universal Championship and the WWE has yet to set a date for his next appearance.
With rumblings of a UFC return on the horizon, it was widely assumed that Lesnar would lose the belt — which he’s held since April 2017 — at SummerSlam (August 19). But that’s no sure thing. Citing the Wrestling Observer, WrestlingInc’s Marc Middleton recently stated that,
Reigns vs. Lesnar for SummerSlam is not a done deal … Lesnar has not been confirmed for SummerSlam [or] any other WWE dates, which is very strange because he’s the top champion for the RAW brand.
Part of the uncertainty likely stems from Lesnar’s unclear future as a mixed martial artist. He still has six months left to serve on a USADA suspension, stemming from a positive PED test following his July 2016 fight with Mark Hunt. The one-year suspension was put on hold when he retired from the sport in February 2015.
If he doesn’t re-enter USADA’s drug testing pool before July, he will not be eligible to fight in the UFC until at least 2019. But he may be seriously motivated to return given that both UFC president Dana White and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (who’s also suspended for a failed drug test) appear keen on a mega-fight between Jones and Lesnar, something which would likely net Brock his biggest payday to date as a fighter.
Brock Lesnar interested in fighting Jon Jones, according to UFC prez https://t.co/RhvJHGQnXV
— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) June 11, 2018
Where do all of the latest rumors and buzz leave the odds on Lesnar’s immediate future?
Brock Lesnar WWE Odds
|Brock Lesnar defends the Universal Championship at SummerSlam (2018)||1/5|
|Brock Lesnar retains the Universal Championship at Summer Slam (2018)||9/2|
|Brock Lesnar re-signs with the WWE in 2018||5/3|
If Lesnar is leaving the WWE, he needs to lose his title, and there’s no bigger or better stage than SummerSlam.
If Lesnar is staying in the WWE, he needs to at least defend his title, and there’s no bigger or better stage than SummerSlam!
So even though there isn’t a clear path forward for Lesnar in the WWE, Vince McMahon will make sure his RAW champion is at wrestling’s biggest summer showcase.
After SummerSlam, it’s more likely that Lesnar and the WWE part ways, at least for now. He recently surpassed CM Punk’s record for longest title reign in the modern era (435 days). There’s not much more for the five-time world champion to do in the world of sports entertainment, and he’s now on the wrong side of 40.
Brock Lesnar UFC Odds
|Brock Lesnar fights in the UFC in 2018||2/1|
|Brock Lesnar fights in the UFC before the end of 2019||1/4|
|Brock Lesnar fights Jon Jones before the end of 2019||3/2|
|Brock Lesnar wins the heavyweight title in the next five years||9/1|
|Brock Lesnar makes an appearance at UFC 226 (July 7)||1/1|
As mentioned, to fight in the UFC in 2018, Lesnar needs to re-enter USADA’s testing pool before July 1. This would start the clock running again on his suspension, which still has six months remaining. Even if he does that, other obstacles could prevent Lesnar from making his triumphant return at the UFC’s annual New Year’s Eve show. The promotion will have to find a worthy matchup that will sell PPVs and both fighters will have to make it through training in one piece.
The former is the easy part; the latter is an issue that has plagued the UFC for years.
It’s more likely that Lesnar’s UFC return happens in 2019. But fans of over-the-hill ground-and-pound specialists should rejoice because there’s an excellent chance that he does eventually come back.
If and when The Beast Incarnate does return to the octagon, don’t hold your breath for a repeat of his 2008-10 run, when he swept through Heath Herring, Randy Couture, Frank Mir, and Shane Carwin, winning the heavyweight title (from Couture) and defending it twice. Lesnar followed that four-fight win streak with first-round TKO losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem before winning a three-round decision over Mark Hunt in a decision that was nullified by his subsequent positive PED test.
His wins never came against elite fighters (at least not fighters who were elite at the time of the fight), and now he’s 40 years old and has been out of the game for over two years.
The chances of his return being successful are further reduced by the potential of him fighting Jon Jones.
A potential Lesnar vs Jones matchup was getting so much chatter earlier this month that sportsbooks even posted odds on the fight. Despite never having fought at heavyweight and Lesnar regularly fighting at 265 pounds, Jones was established as a massive -350 favorite, compared to +260 for the underdog Lesnar.
The implied win probability of those odds (77.8% vs 27.8%) accurately captures Lesnar’s current status vis-a-vis elite mixed martial artist. That is to say, he isn’t one.
Jones, however, looked as dangerous as ever the last time he was in the ring, KOing Daniel Cormier in July 2017. (Jump to 3:52 in the video below to see the finish.)
Excited at the prospect of betting on a Lesnar vs Jones UFC fight, but nervous about both fighters’ suspension history? Don’t be. Bets are settled long before testing results are returned. Positive tests won’t impact the outcome of your wager, for better or worse. So head to one of the internet’s best sports betting sites to get in on the MMA action.