Manufactured for destruction, The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar has dismantled the very best that combat sport has had to offer over a twenty year period. A true anomaly in the fight world, he has laid waste to the competition across three different disciplines in a stellar fight career.
Born in South Dakota, Brock excelled in both American Football and amateur wrestling from an early age, sealing a athletics scholarship in wrestling at the university of Minnesota in the year 2000.
This is where Brock’s ascension to superstardom began as he became the NCAA Heavyweight wrestling champion at the age of 23 years old, as seen in the corresponding photograph below.
Brock’s physical stature and imposing presence soon caught the attention of World Wrestling Entertainment, who promptly signed him to a developmental deal that summer, and he would make his debut two years later.
Brock debuted on WWE television on March 18th 2002, billed as “The Next Big Thing” his rapid rise to the top of the championship scene culminated with a classic encounter with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at Summerslam on August 25th, who himself was the biggest draw in professional wrestling at the time.
Brock stood firm in the face of adversity and left The Rock victimized with a comprehensive mauling, as he became the youngest WWE champion of all time at 25 years old, a mere five months removed from his debut on the main roster. The first of many record breaking accolades for a man who was deemed to be a freak of nature, not only because of his physical stature but also due to his natural ability inside of a wrestling ring.
His reign of dominance would continue within the company for a prolonged period of time as the likes of the legendary Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker would fall to the Canadian powerhouse.
Eventually Brock would head for pastures new in the summer of 2004 as he and the WWE parted ways in less than amicable circumstances, as Lesnar wished to pursue a career in the NFL.
A motorbike accident that broke his jaw and left him nursing a recurring groin injury would ultimately curtail his dream.
His fractured relationship with WWE led Brock to work for wrestling companies in Japan, where once again he would capture championship gold. Becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and the main box office attraction for the company, which is where he continued to hone his skills until his depatrure in 2007.
Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Brock’s subsequent signing to the UFC in 2008 was deemed to be a massive coup for its owner Dana White, as Brock’s name and image had held huge drawing power in the world of Professional Wrestling .
Fight fans were eager to see him in action, many holding the belief that Pro wrestling would be shown to be a facade in the world of “true” combat sports. No man had ever crossed the divide of professional Wrestling to UFC ever before, and it was deemed to be a very risky move by Brock. His reputation and that of pro Wrestling was seemingly on the line.
Professional Wrestling is certainly choreographed, but to simply label it as “fake” provides a huge disservice to the athletes themselves. Aches, pains, and severe injuries that these performers have faced over the years are no laughing matter, many have suffered concussions and broken bones in order to entertain its fanbase. For people to pour scorn on it leaves me mystified as to why it does not accrue the recognition it surely deserves, as the scars that these highly trained professional athletes bear are unequivocally for real.
Making his highly anticipated debut at UFC 81, he faced the wily Frank Mir who swiftly dispatched of Brock in the first round by knee bar submission.
This was to be a mere bump in the road for The Beast however, as his desire to compete in MMA would not diminish as he made his return to the octogon at UFC 87 with a dominant win over Heath Herring by unanimous decision.
The crowning achievement of Brock’s storied career was soon to follow at UFC 91, as he faced off against the legendary Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Considered an outsider by many due to his relative inexperience inside the octagon, Brock shocked the world with a brutal secound round stoppage, exploding a right hand onto Randy’s temple that left him shell shocked as his legs crumbled beneath him.
Brock quickly capitalised, as he gained full mount control over his adversary and unleashed a series of short arm shots to the head that would go unanswered by Couture.
In that moment Lesnar had become the only man in history to hold the accolade of being both a WWE and UFC World Heavyweight Champion, lending legitimacy to the name of professional Wrestling for the first time in its existence. Brock’s fearless and animal like tenacity for success had placed him at the head of a sport that had previously questioned his mere presence amongst its ranks.
Frank Mir would be next in line to lock horns with the newly crowned King of the division, holding up his previous submission victory over him as a bargaining chip , the re-match was made official and Lesnar avenged his debut loss by TKO in the second round.
A scheduled defence of the Championship against Shane Carwin was next up for Lesnar, it would go down much later than originally scheduled however, as he began experiencing the early stages of a string of serious health problems. These issues threatened his life and would ultimately lead to his retirement from UFC and MMA altogether.
Eventually diagnosed with diverticulitis, Brock spent a number of months in hiatus from the company in order to recover from his dehabilitating injuries, with a section of his Colon eventually being surgically removed as faecal matter had been leaking into his abdomen through his lower intestine, causing serious health complications and by his own admission it was the “sickest I have been in my entire life”.
Shane Carwin and Frank Mir clashed in his absence in order to determine a new interim champion with Carwin emerging the victor. Lesnar was waiting amongst the shadows and on his return he would spectacularly reclaim the throne he had been forced to relinquish, with a 2nd round submission win via triangle chokehold.
It was a simply stunning return to form for a man that had been laid low for such a long period of time, a display that epitomised Lesnar’s astonishing heart to battle back from the brink of despair, whilst fight fans were no longer in doubt that this former professional Wrestler was indeed the real deal.
The Brock lesnar freight train would soon begin to lose traction however, after losing his next defence to Cain Velasquez. His struggles with diverticulitis had re-emerged and continued to hamper his performance in both the physical and mental aspect of the sport.
His subsequent loss to Alistair Overeem would be the catalyst to his retirement from the sport in 2012, due to the propensity of many opponents to attack his severely weakened abdomen during battle, and in such a brutal and unforgiving sport it was considered a very wise move to step away from Mixed Martial Arts.
Brock’s long awaited return to professional wrestling materialised later that summer in 2012. His comeback in WWE has been littered with countless monumental moments and championships, once again leaving spectators in no doubt as to whom the company’s premiere athlete is.
Brock’s presence alone can to be attributed to a rise in TV viewers as he made his triumphant comeback to WWE. He was also a huge box office draw for the UFC as his aura belies that of a mega star, as people seem to thrive on seeing this fighting machine in action.
His title runs in WWE have been met by much negativity since his return due to the formulaic nature of his matches, however when faced with the right opponent his matches with the likes of the Phenomenal AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio Jr have been a real treat to watch.
His shocking victory over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 33 broke the dead man’s legendary streak and is a bone of contention for many wrestling fans to this day, however to Lesnar it is simply another feather in an ever expanding cap.
Despite all of his achievements Brock is certainly no angel, and after defeating Mark Hunt in a one off return at UFC 200 he later tested positive for steroids, with the victory declared null and void in the record books. A dangerous and inconsiderate move from an elite athlete that endangered his opponents wellbeing and for that his actions cannot be condoned or ignored.
Brock’s career has been intertwined with success, controversy, and championships since its onset. His stardom sky rocketed on the back of his herculean like image and fighting prowess. For his never before seen exploits he should be held in the highest regard as an elite level athlete, a precious commodity in a sport that continues to expand year in, year out.
He has battled dangerous opponents both in and outside of the ring, hauling himself from the canvas on countless occasions from both a professional and personal perspective. It is therefore admirable that he has carved out such a monumental and unique career in the face of such adversity, conquering the countless barriers that had been strewn across his metaphorical pathway.
He is simply one of a kind.
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