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WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar Returns to UFC

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Despite having not appeared on WWE TV since April, universal champion Brock Lesnar returned to UFC last night, and challenged its heavyweight champ. While professional wrestling is scripted sports entertainment and mixed martial arts is a legit combat sport, that hasn't stopped there from being a ton of crossover between the two industries over the years, especially between top dog companies WWE and UFC. MMA stars like Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, and Ronda Rousey all eventually jumped over to the wrestling ring, while wrestlers like Bobby Lashley, Alberto Del Rio, and CM Punk have all tried their hand at stepping into the octagon.

Of course, easily the most famous pro wrestler to ever venture into the MMA world is Brock Lesnar. A natural athlete and amateur wrestling superstar, Lesnar was pushed to the moon when he arrived in WWE in 2002, defeating The Rock at SummerSlam to become the then-youngest world champion in WWE history. WWE was built around Lesnar for almost two years before "The Beast" decided to abruptly leave the company in 2004. Wanting to pursue other dreams, Lesnar first unsuccessfully tried out for the NFL, before turning toward MMA. Lesnar quickly made it to UFC, then captured the heavyweight championship from Randy Couture in only his third fight for the promotion.

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Medical issues ultimately led Lesnar to retire from UFC in 2011, and head back to WWE in 2012, where he's been mostly booked as an unstoppable monster ever since. During his second run, Lesnar has had marquee match-ups with The Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and more. He's now been the reigning universal champion for well over a year, having won it from Goldberg at 2017's WrestleMania. Thanks to his big money contract though, he only defends the title on a limited basis for WWE, and now ESPN reports that Lesnar is officially set for a return to UFC.

Prior to the main event of last night's UFC 226, Lesnar - who beat Mark Hunt in a one-off return in 2016, only to see the result overturned due to his testing positive for a banned substance post-fight - sat down cageside next to company boss Dana White. Following Daniel Cormier's victory over Stipe Miocic to capture UFC's heavyweight crown - while also already holding the light heavyweight title - Cormier got on the mic and laid out a WWE-esque challenge to Lesnar, who of course climbed into the octagon to respond. Lesnar ended up confronting Cormier, then unleashing his own profanity-laced tirade.

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While White admits that the plan all along was for Lesnar to challenge whoever won the main event, he also says that Lesnar got a little carried away while attempting to promote his fight with Cormier. That's nothing new for Lesnar, who thrives on using his star power to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. As for when the Lesnar/Cormier title fight will take place, Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter claims that it's penciled in for November's UFC 230 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. UFC has made no official comment, outside of confirming that the fight will happen at some point. For now, it's unclear when Lesnar's next WWE match will take place, although SummerSlam in August is rumored. Lesnar last appeared at April's Greatest Royal Rumble.

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Sources: ESPN, Jeremy Botter

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