Brock Lesnar: Is the Former “Next Big Thing” Now the Face of MMA?

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst IAugust 28, 2009

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lesnar defeated Mir by a second round knockout.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has quickly become one of the most popular sports on the planet. In fact, it’s the fastest growing sport in popularity at the moment. Some of the more popular hosts of this up and coming sport are The UFC, WEC, and EXC.

As the sport grows in popularity, fans demand an image. Basketball has seen guys like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Kobe, and LeBron. Football has boasted poster-boys such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in recent times.

So who is, or may become, the face of MMA?

True MMA loyalists may say Fedor Emilenenko. While I would agree that pound-for-pound he may be the best fighter in MMA, he has yet to join the bandwagon of what has become the juggernaut of MMA, The UFC.

So, looking at the talent that seems to ooze from the UFC, who could it possibly be?

How about a guy who, after just four professional fights, was given a shot at, and won, the UFC Heavyweight Title?

That Guy is Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar was an All-American wrestler in his college days at Minnesota, and transformed himself quickly into what became one of the most popular wrestlers in Vince McMahon's version of Motley Crue’s White Trash Circus, the WWE. He was "crowned" the youngest champion in WWE history, and given the nickname "The Next Big Thing."

But Lesnar walked away from the WWE in 2004 for a short stint in the NFL as a lineman for the Minnesota Vikings. After being cut before the end of the preseason, Lesnar contemplated his next move, eventually turning to MMA.

His first UFC fight pitted him against UFC headliner Frank Mir, Heavyweight Champion, in the UFC. He came out firing, but inexperience took over as Frank Mir would eventually submit him with a knee bar in the first round.

Lesnar would bounce back quickly, defeating Heath Herring and Randy Couture, securing himself a rematch against Frank Mir at UFC 100, this time for Mir's title.

Lesnar learned from his mistakes in his first bout with Mir, and would control Mir on the ground, eventually securing a win via TKO. Lesnar was the champ after only four fights in the UFC.

He then made a string of controversial comments and gestures: flipping off the crowd, talking trash to Mir, mentioning that he may even "get on top of his wife" later that evening, and putting the cherry on top by denouncing the main sponsor for UFC 100, Bud Light, by saying "they won't pay me nothin" then proceeding to promote his sponsor, Coors Light. Lesnar would later apologize for his actions.

Here's the point: agree or disagree, Lesnar has become the face of the UFC, and in turn, the face of MMA. Whether you love him or hate him, that's the point. He's young, he's exciting. He's controversial. Don't expect any of that to change any time soon.

Everyone knows who he is, and whether he is liked or not does not matter. This truly makes Lesnar—already The Next Big Thing—the face of MMA.

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