Now, before you jump on my case, hear me out. This isn’t an article designed to trash Brock Lesnar.
This is an indictment of his championship status based on a multiple things.
This is an indictment of the UFC for putting him in this position and, in my opinion, taking some of the luster away from their own heavyweight title. I have felt this way for a while, but I read something this morning that made it necessary for me to vent.
In a recent editorial by Michael DiSanto on UFC.com, he comments on the upcoming Mir/Lesnar fight and states this:
“The interim champion is so far superior to Lesnar on a technical level in every aspect of the game, other than wrestling, that it is a bit disturbing. But for Lesnar’s freakish physical gifts, he would stand no chance against an amazing technician like Mir.”
That statement alone is a major part of my issue, but before we get into that I want to look at a few other items.
Did Lesnar deserve his title shot?
This is one of the biggest points of contention for a lot of people. Regardless, Lesnar is the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and to this point has won 75 percent of his four fights.
Impressive? Maybe. Let’s look a little deeper.
Lesnar started off his career in K-1 against a Min-Soo Kim. Lesnar won this fight and gave Kim his fourth loss in as many fights. Kim is obviously not a world beater, but no one would expect a fighter to take on a champion in their first fight.
It wasn’t an amazing victory, but it was a victory. Lesnar at this point was 1-0 and got signed by the UFC to be the next big thing.
Lesnar didn’t win. Mir caught him in a submission and dragged his record down to 1-1.
Many would consider this a significant setback for a fighter on the way up the ranks. White did not.
Brock’s next fight came against Heath Herring, who the UFC is now calling a “contender” in the prefight hype. I don’t know where this “contender” talk comes from, and I don’t what he is contending for.
Fact is, “The Texas Crazy Horse” hasn’t won back to back fights since 2004, and while he has lost to some of the best in the world, his most notable wins are probably Cheick Congo or maybe Evan Tanner back in 1997.
Lesnar did win this fight, and was impressive in doing so, but is that enough for a title shot?
Not in my books. Herring would not have earned himself a title shot with the win.
The UFC is very thin in the heavyweight division, and Brock can sell pay-per-views. That is why he got a shot so early. Anyone who argues against TUF should have an even bigger issue with Lesnar’s status.
Does winning the Heavyweight Title alleviate these concerns?
A lot of people who support Lesnar will argue that he beat Couture, and that proves him as a champion.
I am not buying it.
Beating Couture is his most (only) notable victory of his young career, but it wasn’y shocking and it wasn’t an upset.
You were kidding yourself if you didn’t see Lesnar winning that fight. Lesnar is huge, and his size cannot be ignored. Everybody always gives Randy a chance, but he didn’t have much of one that night.
Remember, Couture spent a huge portion of his career at 205 pounds, which is probably his optimum fighting weight. He moved back up because he saw an opportunity in a soft division.
How can we call it a major upset or accomplishment when 285-pound Lesnar (and I am being generous) beats a 45 year old, 220-pound Randy Couture?
Age aside, that is a 65-five pound differential!
For your reference, 70 pounds is the difference between a lightweight and a heavyweight.
What does it take to be a champion?
MMA has become so widespread, and the techniques have become so varied and technical, that we are seeing highly tuned “Martial Artists” compete for titles.
Fighters like GSP, who have shown amazing levels of dedication and put in years upon years of training (in many fighting styles) to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Fighters like Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida that have worked and developed their own unique brand of striking, that nobody can solve, to become world class superstars.
Fighters like BJ Penn and Fedor that will take on any challenger in a moment’s notice, plus have the striking and ground skills to dominate wherever the fight goes.
That brings us to Brock.
He does not have the background of a martial artist. MMA wasn’t his first choice. Heck, it wasn’t even his second choice.
Yes, he had a very impressive collegiate wrestling career, but he hadn’t participated in any sort of legit wrestling competition since the year 2000. That is seven years before he started in MMA.
The other champions have very impressive backgrounds, while Lesnar has wrestling, plus he has big and athletic.
Wow! That is quite the pedigree.
The new form of BBJ!
The fact that the UFC has Lesnar learning on the job, while holding their most prestigious title, seems wrong to me.
I think it is an insult to the fighters that have put in the work. I think it is insulting to the fighters that have put their life into MMA and dedicated themselves to being true mixed martial artists.
When the sport has reached an era of experts, elite fighters, and true mixed martial artists, Brock sets it back. He isn’t about a refined skill set—he is about being the biggest and being athletic.
In other words, he is an MMA freak show, and that doesn’t seem right to me.
How can this be fixed? If Mir can pull off a win on July 11, it will be a step in the right direction.
If he can pull the upset, Lesnar will be proven to be a second-rate fighter. Mir is a huge underdog, though, and as much as I want Mir to win, I know a victory is less than likely.
Brock is just too big. No, not too skilled. Just too big.
Does anyone else agree that this takes the “art” out of Mixed Martial Arts?
I suppose you can argue that Lesnar is the creator of a new style of BBJ. Let’s call it “being big jitsu”.
Is this what the heavyweight title is coming too?
Bobby Lashley is starting to make some noise. Some people are hyping him up as the next big thing. He too is a master of “being big jitsu”.
He may not have fought the same level of competition, but I don’t believe Lesnar has proven himself a great deal more. Whether you agree or not, someone that big and that strong with a solid wrestling base will always be hard to beat.
Where does Brock belong?
With athletes the size of Lesnar and Lashley coming into the mix, the MMA world will have to make adjustments.
I think the only logical step is to add a super heavyweight division. There may not be enough fighters now, but in time there will be.
The fact is, Lesnar is not a heavyweight, and he shouldn’t be fighting guys that are 220 to 230 pounds for titles. Whether the UFC or MMA in general make the distinction, Lesnar is a super heavyweight, and is in a class of his own.
If Lesnar beats Mir, who is next? Does Randy have a chance in a rematch? Can Big Nog beat him? If not, what happens to fighters their size?
Is this the end of the heavyweight division as we know it?
I don’t know, but I don’t but I know this: Brock Lesnar should not be the Heavyweight Champ!