UFC 141 rung in the New Year with some fantastic fights and interesting post-fight tidbits to digest. The retirement of Brock Lesnar first and foremost among them. Now I am grew up in the ’90s , I went from ages 4 to 14 during the golden age of pro wrestling and I couldn’t care less about it. Nothing against pro wrestling fans but if I want to watch scripted fighting I’d like them to have swords, ideally light-sabers, but really any old sword will do. So watching unnaturally large men scream in to the microphones and hit each other with chairs never really drew me in.
So when Brock Lesnar came into MMA, I wasn’t huge on the idea of a pro wrestler coming into a real combat sport. Now since then I’ve developed a respect for the catch wrestling roots of pro wrestling and Brock Lesnar won my respect as a fighter. Now questions abound because when ever an athlete that won a championship in his/her sport, there is the question of where that athlete fits into the pantheon of all-time greats. And Brock Lesnar is no different, where does he fit amongst the great MMA heavyweights.
Certainly he isn’t the best Heavyweight of all-time; names like Randy Couture, Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or even Mark Coleman should come before Lesnar to name a few. But this should not relegate Lesnar to the dustbin of MMA history. Lesnar came to the sport with excellent NCAA wrestling credentials and freak athleticism but already in his 30s, never having trained MMA and experienced great success.
While Lesnar’s legacy will include his distaste for getting hit, it should not lessen his victories over Randy Couture, Frank Mir, his awesome come back against Shane Carwin and even his win over Heath Herring who was once an a top 15 heavyweight in his own right. So I wish Brock Lesnar a happy retirement. You reached the top of the sport, defended your title, and changed the heavyweight division. Those are things that can never be taken away.