Brock Lesnar might still be fighting in the UFC if not for getting sick early in his career
JP Yim/Getty Images
When Brock Lesnar re-signed with WWE earlier this year and ultimately put his career with the UFC behind him, many wondered if the former champion was using the two promotions as leverage against each other to get the best possible contract.
In the end, Lesnar opted for a future in professional wrestling, but he said in a new interview on Monday night that his possible return to the UFC was anything but a hoax.
He wanted to make another run at being a mixed martial artist for one reason — because he never truly felt satisfied by the way he left the last time.
Article continues below ...
"It wasn’t a bluff," Lesnar said on the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin podcast. "I felt robbed by diverticulitis. I felt robbed by being sick. I was feeling good and it took me a couple years to start feeling good. I’m at home, I’m working out, my life is great, everything’s in tune, my contract’s coming to an end with WWE, hey it’s been a great time but something’s missing.
"I was up front and totally honest with the company and told them I’m really thinking of pursuing getting back in the Octagon."
Lesnar missed significant time after winning the UFC heavyweight title due to the debilitating disease that saw the powerful fighter drop a ton of weight while barely clinging to life at one point.
Lesnar admits that when he first got sick he should have done something about it right away, but his own stubbornness kept him from pursuing medical treatment. When he nearly fell from his tree stand while on a hunt in Canada and later found himself on the operating table with a fever at nearly 105 degrees, Lesnar found out just how serious things had become.
Doctors were able to patch Lesnar up and stave off the disease for a time, but he had a second bout with diverticulitis and his career in the Octagon was never the same again.
Deep down inside Lesnar knows that the only fights he had in the UFC where he was truly healthy were his first three bouts — against Frank Mir, Heath Herring and Randy Couture. After that, everything was downhill for the biggest draw in UFC history.
"You saw me (at 100 percent) in the fight against Randy (Couture) but it got worse," Lesnar said. "When I’d get halfway through a training camp and I knew something was wrong. There’s something physically wrong with me so I need to figure it out."
At the close of 2014 and the beginning of this year as his WWE contract neared its end, Lesnar formed a training camp and started working out to see if a return to the UFC was possible.
The biggest factor for Lesnar wasn’t finding out if his body could endure the damage of MMA, but if his mind was truly ready to get inside the Octagon again.
"I started training camp. I wanted to test myself and see where I was — not more physical, but mentally," Lesnar said. "I wanted to see the mental challenges that it was going to take. If your head’s not in the game, the last place you want to get into is in the Octagon."
In the end, Lesnar decided for his future and the future of his family that going back to the WWE for a long term deal was best for business.
Still to this day, however, Lesnar says that if he was never cut down by diverticulitis that he’d probably still be in the UFC fighting in the heavyweight division.
"It was really unfair for me," Lesnar said. "To this day, I don’t know if I’d be a pro wrestler if I hadn’t gotten sick. I may not be here. I’d still be banging heads."