A week ago, rumours emerged that Brock Lesnar had been at UFC headquarters during the promotion’s annual International Fight Week ahead of a possible return to the octagon and that the gargantuan WWE star had re-entered the United States Anti-Doping Agency testing pool.
Then, days later, Wrestling Observer and MMAFighting journalist Dave Meltzer published a report claiming the latter part of that rumour was indeed true.
“Brock Lesnar is quietly back in the USADA testing pool for UFC,” wrote Meltzer.
However, UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky subsequently denied the reports.
“(Lesnar) is not currently enrolled in the USADA testing pool, nor has there been any inquiry on his part to do so,” Novitzky told MMAJunkie.
It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on at present, but Meltzer’s reputation for reliability and the UFC’s history of attempting to throw people off the scent of big news should both be noted.
On Tuesday night, there was another intriguing development in the Lesnar return story. Greg Beacham of APNews spoke to ‘The Beast Incarnate’ about a recent Facebook Live in which former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who faces bitter rival and reigning light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier this weekend, suggested that Lesnar might be unwilling to fight him.
“Would I fight Jon Jones? Anytime, anywhere,” Lesnar told Beacham in response. “Right now he should be worried about D.C. on Saturday night.”
Indeed, Jones’ upcoming task is not an easy one. He may have defeated Cormier comfortably enough back in January of 2015 but a lot has happened since then. Jones has suffered through a host of personal problems and endured two lengthy spells on the sidelines, the second of which will only come to an end when he actually steps in with ‘D.C’ at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday. In the meantime. Cormier has continued to improve despite his advanced age and proven himself a great champion.
If Jones can come through the test, though, a fight with Lesnar would be absolutely massive.
Despite rumours suggesting that he could return as early as November 4th for the UFC’s second ever show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Lesnar’s earliest return date would actually be sometime in December or perhaps even early 2018. In January of this year, Lesnar notified the UFC of his retirement. Therefore, the one-year suspension he received after failing a pair of drug tests in mid-2016 was frozen and the remainder of the sentence must be served before he can compete once more.
Lesnar was UFC heavyweight champion from November of 2008 until October of 2010, when he was dethroned in violent fashion by Cain Velasquez. He lost to Alistair Overeem by TKO when he returned over a year later and subsequently retired from the sport. He came out of retirement to take on Mark Hunt at the huge UFC 200 card in Las Vegas last July, however. Lesnar was awarded the fight via unanimous decision on the night but when it was confirmed later that he had failed both out-of-competition and an in-competition drug tests, the result was overturned to a no-contest.