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5 Fights We'd Love to See Brock Lesnar Take If He Returned to the Octagon

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2014

5 Fights We'd Love to See Brock Lesnar Take If He Returned to the Octagon

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Brock Lesnar was last seen inside the Octagon in December 2011. After losing back-to-back fights, he called it a career and returned to WWE.

    Since his exit, there has always been speculation about a potential return. It is most certainly not likely, but there is little doubt that the UFC would benefit greatly from his return. He draws considerable interest, and his fights are the most marketable in all of UFC.

    Recently, Lesnar's name did appear on UFC President Dana White's phone. He was not calling about a return but called to urge White to make Pat Barry retire from fighting.

    Lesnar's return would be massive for everyone. The biggest issue with a return is the lack of heavyweights to go opposite him. Lesnar showed in his final couple bouts that elite strikers capable of takedowns are not the best way to go, but Lesnar must be placed against someone credible by the same token.

    That makes the list of potential fights very small in today's UFC heavyweight division. It is shallow on potential stars that would make for a pay-per-view quality fight against Lesnar.

    From the talent pool, here are five men who we would love to see stand opposite Lesnar, should he make a surprise return to the sport—even if for just one night.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    It is a fight that would have little to no consequence, but it sells itself on the name value alone.

    Minotauro is well past his prime and was just recently lambasted by Roy Nelson. He would be a viable candidate for a competitive fight against Lesnar.

    Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is not much of a threat on the feet, and his wrestling pales in comparison to Lesnar's. The one spot in which things could get interesting is if Lesnar took the fight to the mat against the legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner.

    This is a fight the UFC could sell without worry of the outcome. It is a perfect one-off fight.

Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva

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    Chris Hyde/Getty Images

    Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva is a curious case for an opponent for Lesnar. If, by chance, Lesnar showed interest in another run toward the title, then this may be the UFC's best bet for a big return fight.

    Bigfoot is a well-rounded fighter, but he is also incredibly slow and hittable.

    Why risk putting Lesnar in the cage with a fast, accurate and athletic heavyweight like Stipe Miocic? This is a way for the UFC to hedge their bets on Lesnar's big return. The fight will sell on Lesnar's name alone, and it gives him a realistic chance of winning to be an instant contender.

    Lesnar could do a lot worse than Bigfoot if he were to demand a big fight.

Mark Hunt

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    Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Mark Hunt could be the most intriguing matchup of them all.

    He's a very powerful striker with little to no takedown defense.

    The smart money is to bet on Lesnar shooting for a takedown early and having his way with Hunt on the mat. Hunt has improved his submission defense, but against someone like Lesnar, it is hard to envision how he survives for very long.

    The interesting part is Lesnar's dislike for taking hard shots and how Hunt can level him early—even with a kick to the body as Lesnar comes in.

    It would be a dangerous fight to make for that reason alone, but his lack of takedown defense makes this a shining opportunity for Lesnar to return in a very big way.

Alistair Overeem

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Alistair Overeem was Lesnar's last opponent, and he knows more than most just how big a fight against Lesnar is. He even called him out after he defeated Frank Mir at UFC 169.

    Based on pure business decisions alone, this is the biggest fight for the UFC should Lesnar want to come back. It's the rematch against the man who sent him back into professional wrestling.

    Unlike Hunt, Overeem does have takedown defense. That is the biggest issue for Lesnar. Would he have improved his striking defense enough during his time away to weather the storm? Overeem's lack of cardio makes beating him after the first round much more simple.

    Lesnar would still be a live dog in this fight. He has the strength and the wrestling to put Overeem on the mat, and the striker's chin has always been a weak spot. If Lesnar slipped in one of his large paws, he could easily put Overeem out.

    It's the selling of the rematch that makes this one of the biggest potential return fights for Lesnar.

Josh Barnett

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Who would we like to see Lesnar against the most? Josh Barnett.

    Barnett is by far the most dangerous opponent for Lesnar of the five mentioned in this group, but it is what he offers outside the cage that makes this the most enticing matchup.

    Barnett is a professional wrestling fan, and he has worked wrestling matches in Japan himself. He has brought the art of the promo into the cage with him several times, and the lead-up to the fight would be fantastic with the two heavyweights.

    If the UFC got the two in a room and told them to sell it like a professional wrestling PPV, they could do massive numbers. Lesnar, Barnett and other outside players could orchestrate a fantastic program leading into their PPV.

    Purists would hate it, but this sport is not reaching the next level on their wallets. It must reach the masses. Barnett and Lesnar would garner mainstream interest.

    Everything leading up to the fight would be gold, and we would be merely hoping for bronze during the actual contest.

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