Fall 2018: A golden opportunity for Brock Lesnar

As one of the greatest athletes ever to blur the lines between MMA and professional wrestling, Brock Lesnar is never far from the lips of those who equally treasure the octagon and the squared circle. With the announcement that an edition of SmackDown Live will be held on October 15 in Richmond, Lesnar potentially has a perfect bridge between his appearance at SummerSlam 2018 and his UFC bout with Daniel Cormier in January 2019.

Given how Lesnar’s feud with Reigns stretched out, as he continued to torment the ‘Big Dog’, who was denied title shots prior to SummerSlam 2018, one can quite comfortably assume that the rivalry is now done with. A trilogy involving pure muscle versus hated surliness only ever has a finite lifespan, and now there is the possibility of Lesnar exploring a new rivalry within the WWE.

Brock Lesnar debuts: March 18, 2002

[Source: Youtube]

Like his persona, Lesnar’s WWE debut was explosive.

A new WWE rivalry to run alongside UFC drama?

The upcoming SmackDown Live in West Virginia could be a perfect opportunity to birth such a rivalry. While he is currently signed to the RAW brand, and thus unable to fight at the event itself, a timely scripted interruption from Lesnar – with the potential to start a new feud – would not be without precedent. He invaded the ring at Randy Orton’s expense in a 2016 edition of SmackDown Live and, depending on how much the WWE still value Lesnar after SummerSlam 2018, a revived ‘beef’ with Orton could be a shrewd decision from a business point of view.

Lesnar further added to his previous interruptions as recently as July 2018, when he stole the limelight as Daniel Cormier celebrated a knockout win (as recalled by TMZ) over Stipe Miocic to claim the UFC heavyweight title. Verbal in a way that the WWE could never permit, Lesnar has once more made himself the antihero that saw him make a name as a wrestler for the definitive pro-wrestling franchise. There are many fighters out there who would love to share a ring with him, and everyone – from the savviest boardroom head to the arena janitor – knows that having that a surprise appearance for Lesnar at Richmond would make it an epic event.

Cormier bout now the priority

Regardless of whether or not Lesnar plans to interrupt SmackDown Live in Richmond, much of his attention will now turn to the bout with Cormier. According to the latest UFC odds on Betway, Lesnar is a +162.50 outsider to vanquish Cormier. While nobody is questioning Lesnar’s status as an outsider, the fact that Lesnar is only a marginal one gives bettors much food for thought. The brutal fact is that, while Cormier (as noted on Sherdog) has bounced back well from defeat to Jon Jones in January 2015, to win the UFC heavyweight title, Lesnar is without a legitimate UFC match win since July 2010. Even in defeat, there is the opportunity to learn but Lesnar has only been afforded that luxury twice in the octagon over the last eight years.

daniel cormier

In Daniel Cormier, Lesnar faces a man in form

On paper, the fight looks like an open and shut case, even though it has been in the pipeline for a while. Lesnar could theoretically win on physical strength alone and a surprise takedown combined with his wrestling experience appears to be the obvious – and perhaps only – route to victory. Other than that, Cormier holds all the proverbial cards. Another element potentially working in Lesnar’s favor is the fact that Cormier’s heavyweight title win was his first venture into that weight category for five years. So too was it his first taste of the top weight division in the UFC, with his last heavyweight title fight prior to the knockout of Miocic coming under the Strikeforce brand in 2013. Lesnar, on the other hand, is heavyweight personified. The 41-year-old remains as physically fit as ever but the psychological impetus still lies with Cormier, who has stated that he could retire after the Lesnar bout.

Daniel Cormier talks Brock Lesnar UFC 226 confrontation, Stipe Miocic knockout, Jon Jones | ESPN

[Source: Youtube]

Cormier discusses Lesnar interruption.

Lesnar plans remain unclear

With Cormier turning 40 in 2019, his ‘good’ years as a UFC fighter are numbered – and Lesnar has nothing to lose. That, in itself, can be a power if utilized correctly. Regardless of the result, it is likely to be a short fight with an explosive end. Lesnar is not a man to fight conservatively, as he should against a good all-round champion like Cormier. Even if Lesnar does pull off a shock win, it is difficult to see his return to UFC action being anything other than short-lived. Regardless of whether or not Lesnar takes advantage of the opportunity that the coming months offer remains to be seen.

Given that his career reached another juncture when his long-running WWE feud with Roman Reigns came to a head on Sunday night at SummerSlam, the high-stakes nature of the match, along with the result, will be hugely important in determining Lesnar’s future plans. At this time, naturally, those exact plans are known only to one man: Brock Lesnar.

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