Yes, you read that correctly. I just called the UFC Heavyweight Champion the most underrated fighter in the organization.
Rather than viewing him as a decorated wrestler not only through high school (33-0), but all throughout his collegiate career finishing with a 106-5 record.
I find it amazing that those credentials have become irrelevant in the eyes of many fans just because of what Lesnar did to earn a living before MMA.
However, I realize that's not all some MMA fans hold against him. Many believe he was given the title shot against Randy Couture far too early. I agree he was given the shot too early, but let's take a look at how things unfolded.
Lesnar's obvious PPV drawing power had a lot to do with the match making, but in his debut he dominated Mir until making a rookie mistake—a mistake that would be acceptable for any MMA fighter in his second professional fight.
Lesnar moved on to absolutely embarrass Heath Herring. He controlled Herring as if Heath had never been in an octagon before.
Then we come to the title shot against Randy Couture, The Natural, Captain America, and UFC Heavyweight Champion—a fighter that just about every MMA can at least appreciate if not root for.
Couture put up a fight, but when it came down to it Brock dropped Couture and quickly finished him earning himself the belt.
Now to me, doesn't this make the discussion of Lesnar getting the title shot too early irrelevant?
Lesnar has the criteria, with his wrestling background, that we praise so many up and coming fighters for. It is generally accepted that wrestling has become the best base for MMA and not many can compare to Lesnar's resume.
And when tested with Couture, Lesnar rose to the occasion. Not by luck or by questionable decision, but by dominant finish.
The questions and complaints about getting the shot too early become moot. If he can beat the champion, he deserves the right to be the champion.
As we all know from there Lesnar goes on to dominate Mir at UFC 100 and here we are.
Lesnar (4-1) returning from a serious illness, but ready to defend the belt against whomever.
Yet the critics are back again.
I often see Lesnar's striking skills be called weak and yet we have never truly seen him have to strike with anyone. Sure from glimpses of it we can see he has all the power in the world, but his technique isn't perfect. However, again many fans choose to ignore his ability to learn and grow.
Look at the Lesnar at UFC 81 to the Lesnar at UFC 100.
Roughly a year and a half of training sharpened Brock's ground game and submission defense immensely. Is it unreasonable to think that his striking technique may have improved since then?
The Brock debate may not end until he stacks up a list of wins that just becomes irrefutable.
Yet it is time to start recognizing that Brock is no flash in the pan. His freakish physical abilities, his genetically dominant size, and ever improving MMA game is going to be hard for any heavyweight to overcome.
Whether you love him or hate him, unlike Houston Alexander, Lesnar is for real.
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