This week, we have Ben Guest, Matt Rutherford-West and Carlos Toro discussing Brock Lesnar's UFC 200 win over Mark Hunt and SummerSlam match against Randy Orton.
1. How surprised were you of Brock Lesnar's performance at UFC 200?
Ben Guest: Brock Lesnar is an incredible athlete and former UFC Heavyweight Champion, so in theory this victory shouldn't be all that surprising. But when you consider that he has been away from the sport for almost 5 years and that his last 2 fights were both affected by his diverticulitis, it is easy to understand why so many people had Mark Hunt down to win within the first round.
The most surprising thing for me was just how good Brock Lesnar looked. He looked as good as when he won the Heavyweight title 2008 both in the fight and in his physical appearance. We all know that Brock Lesnar doesn't follow the laws of nature, but for a 39-year-old to be in the best shape of his life is incredible.
Anyone who says they expected this level of performance from Brock Lesnar is lying and although the win may not be the biggest surprise, even though I thought he would lose, the overall performance has come as a surprise to everyone, except Brock Lesnar.
Matt Rutherford-West: Honestly, not surprised at all. I must admit, I am new to watching UFC and have only picked it up recently due to Brock and CM Punk debuting "soon", but honestly I predicted one thing and one thing only—a Brock Lesnar win. The main disappoint for me was not coming out to his WWE music, but that is just me being picky. The quality of the fight was clear to see, even from my new UFC loving vantage point. He made Mark Hunt, a UFC veteran, look like an average Joe you see in the street – it was a convincing, dominant display which made him look like he didn't have a long gap between fights.
Round 1: Lesnar fully controlled, Hunt did well just to survive it. Everywhere Hunt went, every route Hunt used and every trick Hunt tried, Lesnar fought back twice as much.
Round 2: More of an even contest than round 1, Hunt trying to throw Lesnar, Lesnar getting out of the way. Pretty much trying to drive a car in neutral.
Round 3: Hunt held on again here which is nothing short of a miracle against Lesnar. Lesnar hit headshots, hit arm triangles for submissions and pretty much threw the kitchen sink.
A lot of my friends bet on Hunt to win; thankfully I went the other way and ended up being the only one to walk away from UFC 200 with a tidy profit.
Carlos Toro: I was a little bit surprised. Lesnar fought an extremely smart fight. He had a gameplan, try to take him down and ground pound him into a decision victory, and he stuck to it. His post fight interview was also extremely surprising, so much so to the point that the broadcasters acknowledge that this was not the same Lesnar who was billed as this otherworldly monster (in a good way).
I do believe that Lesnar winning was the best result or all parties involved and the fact that he came out the victor when he was being tabbed as the underdog makes the performance even better. Not being in an actual match since 2011 and going up against a legit top 10 heavyweight who fought for the title in 2014 is no easy task and Lesnar fought, not like a conqueror, but a war general instead, knowing the enemy and how to beat him without necessarily using brute force.
There was a reason Dana White gave Lesnar a title shot so early in his MMA career. Outside of publicity reasons, he was a legit fighter and one of the best college wrestlers in recent memory.
Ben Guest: Randy Orton is the perfect opponent for Lesnar. He's someone that Brock has only fought once in WWE and that was back in 2002 and they have both come very far since then. It is a fresh and exciting match that I'm really looking forward to because they are both capable of telling a story and putting on a good match.
The biggest surprise for me was that they announced an opponent before UFC 200, because without knowing the result of that it is difficult to know how to book Lesnar. But having an opponent like Orton allows WWE to go in any direction they want. I don't think the result of UFC 200 was going to affect the result at SummerSlam as Brock Lesnar can't beat Mark Hunt then lose to Orton but he also can't lose twice in a row and have his first clean loss since breaking the streak against someone who is in the back end of his career.
I think Brock Lesnar was always going to beat Orton but it's what they do afterwards that makes Orton perfect. As a 12-time champion, but also someone who hasn't held the belt since late 2013, Randy Orton is one of the few guys who can fluctuate between fighting for the WWE Championship and holding a steady place in the mid-card. If Lesnar lost against Hunt, then he could beat Orton and still not go for the WWE title. But now that he has beat Hunt, he can beat Orton and stake a claim for the title.
Matt Rutherford-West: For Orton, he's in a lose-lose situation. If Lesnar had lost at UFC 200, then he would have to beat Orton convincingly to keep up both the mystique of Lesnar, to keep up the character of the man that beat The Undertaker and to keep WWE looking strong. This is a rough deal for Orton. Since Lesnar won, Orton as no chance in hell of beating Lesnar. No chance of even getting strong offence in on Lesnar. If either of those happen then Lesnar looks weak, WWE look weak and UFC look even weaker.
I don't understand why they put Lesnar in a match so quickly after UFC 200, they've really hurt themselves. Yes, making sure people know Lesnar is wrestling will make people tune in but there is only going to be one outcome – a decisive Lesnar win. I would have had him turn up during the PPV and just destroy wrestlers as the night goes on, have him inserted into the WWE Championship match and make it into a triple threat but not have him pinned (like at WrestleMania) and really put a focus on him. Make Lesnar into an unbeatable monster again.
Carlos Toro: I certainly don't mind it. I think people are overplaying Randy's shoulder. I'm sure that with all the precautions WWE has made these past few years with wrestlers' health, they feel confident that Orton can take whatever Lesnar can dish out and not have any real negative consequences.
It's surprising that these two have never met on pay-per-view and watching these two guys compete is going to be pretty interesting. It feels refreshing that in an era of three hour Raw and sometimes over-saturation of the product, that two huge names in WWE with careers as long as these two are going to fight one another on pay-per-view for the first time ever.
Ben Guest: As he said in the post-fight press conference "Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do", I mean who saw him appearing at UFC 200? As for his WWE career, Lesnar HAS to be pushed to the WWE Championship quickly. For WWE to have someone who has won a fight in UFC this year on their roster is huge and especially with the brand split, Lesnar needs to be their number one priority right now and if he doesn't have a title by the end of the year, I'll be shocked.
When it come to a UFC return, Brock is more than ready for it. As I said for an earlier question Brock is in arguably the best shape of his life and looks at least as good as when he won the UFC Heavyweight Championship 8 years ago, so why not go for it again? Considering he had 5 weeks to prepare for this fight, he could do much more with a full training camp.
I really can't work out what Brock Lesnar is going to do, it would have been so much easier for everyone if he had lost because WWE could still make him look like the beast he is and UFC, but perhaps more importantly Brock himself, wouldn't be interested in a return to the Octagon. If I had to say one way or the other, I think he'll stay with WWE, but whether he's exclusive to them? Maybe it's better for everyone if he isn't.
Matt Rutherford-West: A lot of it rests on the new owners of UFC. If they can see a business relationship with WWE, then the upper hand is with Lesnar. If Lesnar decides to fight again in UFC, I'd have WWE go all out and market it. Hell, I'd even put a title on Lesnar and have him wear it to the octagon pre-fight. Lesnar has got a bright future, both in WWE and UFC, and has got the money in the bank now to be comfortable. He doesn't have to do both or either of them to be financially stable, so it is up to what drives him more – fighting UFC a few times a year or wrestling a dozen times a year.
Could I see Lesnar doing both? Probably, but injuries can happen at any time which could jeopardize both companies. SummerSlam is lacking any attention at the moment and UFC 200 was on the rocks after the main event cancellation and McGregor not competing. Lesnar has helped to solve both of these problems.
Carlos Toro: Let's start with WWE. I think regardless of the UFC 200 result, WWE has a plan for Lesnar moving forward and that could include another reign as the WWE Champion. It certainly is feasible if there are going to be two world titles as it is rumored.
As for UFC, that is going to be tough to figure out. With the new owners coming in, I can see them trying to negotiate with WWE to do more cross promotion in exchange for Lesnar's services in the octagon. I can see this going the Bobby Lashley route, where he will mostly wrestle, but if the opportunity arises, fight in MMA as well. Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants, after all.
Are your opinions similar to that of this article's writers? Were you surprised Lesnar won his UFC match? Do you think he should return to UFC for another fight? Is Randy Orton the right opponent for him? Sound off on why or why not in the comments section below.