Before Brock Lesnar officially could return to the Octagon for UFC 200, he had to get permission after signing a long-term contract with WWE last year.
When Lesnar’s fight with Mark Hunt was first announced, he joked that he arm wrestled WWE chairman Vince McMahon for the right to return to the UFC.
Now Lesnar has revealed at least a few more details about his relationship with the WWE head honcho, as well as hinting that his exclusive deal with the world’s biggest professional wrestling organization may not be as iron clad as everyone first thought.
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"The devil’s in the details in the language; it’s not complicated when you have the right people who understand your contracts and understand your life," Lesnar said this week ahead of his Saturday bout in Las Vegas.
"That really boils down to it. Vince giving me the nod to be able to do this, I have great respect for the man and I think he has a greater respect for Brock Lesnar after I walked out in 2004 and went on to become UFC heavyweight champion."
Lesnar was one of the WWE’s biggest stars during his previous stint with the promotion, but after a short four-year stay, he left the organization, flirting with an NFL career before he made his way to the UFC.
Lesnar’s willingness to walk away from the WWE at the height of his popularity showed that he really wanted to pursue different goals. After accomplishing a lot outside the ring, including a UFC title reign, Lesnar returned to the WWE and once again is one of the biggest and most marketable stars on the roster.
Even with a slot at this past year’s WrestleMania and an upcoming match at SummerSlam, Lesnar still got permission to fight at UFC 200 and he believes that resulted from having a much different relationship with McMahon than he had a decade ago.
We’re both older and more mature and it’s water under the bridge. I think he knows a happy Brock Lesnar is easier to work with than a Brock Lesnar that’s not.
— Brock Lesnar on his relationship with Vince McMahon
Lesnar will come face to face with his opponent Mark Hunt for the first time on Wednesday at a UFC 200 pre-fight press conference, and from the look of things, the former heavyweight champion is very excited to be back.
On Thursday, the WWE will announce Lesnar’s opponent at SummerSlam, which takes place on Aug. 20.
Judging by Lesnar’s demeanor and his improved relationship with the bosses at WWE, his UFC career may not be limited to just one more fight.
"Nothing is ever final," Dana White told The Associated Press. "This is a one-and-done, but who knows? He could come back again."