Brock Lesnar: Will He Ever Be UFC Heavyweight Champion?

Ryan WalesSenior Analyst IAugust 20, 2008


Brock Lesnar gained the attention he wanted when he destroyed Heath Herring at UFC 87. Several questions were answered about Lesnar's evolving skill set, but one gigantic question emerged.

The top MMA minds from Bleacher Report weigh in on the question: Will Brock Lesnar ever be UFC Heavyweight Champion?

Jason Cottier:

Brock Lesnar is a physical specimen.  He is huge, unimaginably strong, and an excellent wrestler.  I really hate to admit it, because so many people give him so much credit before it's due, but he is amazingly talented.

I am at a crossroads here, because when people get to talking about someone being the next heavyweight champion after his first big fight—one that he lost at that—it really makes me want to see him stay at the level he is at. 

Lesnar's whole problem is that he knows he is freakishly strong, and he was able to fend off arm bar attempts using just strength alone.  I think Lesnar may just be too cocky to be champion. 

As long as Big Nog is the UFC champion Lesnar really doesn't have a chance.  I watched the fight where Bob Sapp dropped Nog on his head, and just bullied him around.  Then, I saw Nog get Sapp in an arm bar and tap him out. 

I do realize in turn that Lesnar is totally different that Sapp in his background, and well as his quickness and speed, but I truly believe that Sapp is just as strong, if not stronger than Lesnar.

If Sapp couldn't power out of Nog's grip, Lesnar won't be able to do it either.  Lesnar really needs to work on his submission defense, and prove to everyone that he truly is a well-rounded fighter if he ever wants to be even considered for a title shot.

Lesnar can be stopped by a good striker that has good take-down defense.  So far in these fights he has shown great take-downs, and excellent wrestling.  His g-n-p needs work, and his standup really needs improving, because catching someone with a really strong punch doesn't prove anything.  Hitting hard and having great wrestling ability doesn't make a good fighter.  He really needs to hone the skills he does have.

Kevin Curran:

Brock Lesnar is the true enigma of MMA. He has so many skills behind him including incredible wrestling skills, scary size, and overwhelming power and speed. He is the full package.

He does have some serious weaknesses though. One of these was weakness on the ground. Sure Mir is one of the greatest submission artists of all time, but if Lesnar wants to be a champ he’ll have to correct his BJJ weakness. Also, he showed over anxiousness. He attacked Mir and did not bother to slow the pace down and use effective ground and pound. Instead he just tried to pound him into dust. If that fight had gone long he would not have been able to keep that pace. 

In the Herring fight he looked very strong coming out with a good right hand that dropped Herring. He controlled Herring throughout the fight with his wrestling and power. Herring is a veteran in the business and a win over him shows a great future. The one thing that was off putting was his arrogance. He nodded his head along with the crowd and laughed at Herring. This may make Joe Silva less inclined to give him a shot.

The ultimate question is if he will be a champion. How can a man with this much skill and desire not become a champion? Can he beat Noguiera? No. Can he beat almost any other heavyweight with maybe the exception of Fedor, Couture, and Cro Cop? Even those are debatable. Some people believe he could beat all of those men. I wouldn’t bet against him. I see a future champ.

Caesar Mapalad:

I only have one piece of career advice for Lesnar: Switch camps. No offense to Minnesota Martial Arts but Lesnar could use some diversity. A few camps come to mind. With Kos, Fitch, Velasquez and others, AKA in San Jose, CA specializes in turning college wrestling stars into legit MMA fighters. Another camp is Jackson’s Submission Academy in New Mexico with Rashad Evans, GSP on occasion, Huerta and Marquardt, among others.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with going out and training in other camps. He doesn't even need to leave his current camp. If he can develop a well-rounded game, he WILL be HW Champ sooner than later. He needs to hurry, too because his MMA career has started at a late age.

Bryan Trafford:

I would have to say yes. Having saw Lesnar in his collegiate wrestling days and thinking about his personality, this is not a guy that accepts losing or defeat. He will do whatever it takes to get better and to be the best. He has always shown that he wants the biggest challenges. What is his biggest challenge? In the UFC it will no doubt be submission defense. If he can stop submissions he will be a champion soon enough.

I personally would like to see him work his standup more. I believe, should he ever fight Big Nog for the title, it would be to his advantage to keep the fight standing as long as possible. I can’t really see him getting knocked out on in the standup by Nogueira, so his only chance to lose would be on the ground. Same thing with Mir. So if Brock can develop his standup some more and keep working his jits, I can definitely see him being the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and a lot sooner than people think.

Robert DesRoche:

Lesnar's wrestling? Without question he is the most accomplished wrestler in the division.  Somewhat relating to wrestling, Lesnar's size? He's easily the biggest man in the UFC.  The chances of Lesnar being put on his back by a take-down is virtually impossible.  The chances of another fighter being able to consistently defend his take-downs seems just as impossible.  And don't forget about Lesnar's speed; he's one of the fastest in the division. He has quick shots which both Mir and Herring could not handle.

Lesnar's stand up?  The word of the day is potential.  The right hand that knocked down Herring was not only powerful (with his huge fist covering about half of Herring's face), but quick.  Lesnar also has the advantage that people will always be expecting him to go for takedowns.  This allows him to fake the shot and unleash with a powerful punch like he did against Herring.  Don't forget some of the thunderous leg kicks he landed to Herring, or those brutal knees to the body from the clinch.  His chin has yet to be tested, but he has a massive head and it's hard to imagine he could be KO'd with any ease. 


With work, Lesnar's speed, and power are designed to make him a very dangerous stand up fighter. 

That improved stand up will help him against the great jiu-jitsu fighters.  

Which brings us to the crux of the issue when considering Lesnar's title prospects—his submission skills and his work ethic.


Lesnar's training camp says that his work ethic is second to none.  This is why I can't understand any argument against Lesnar becoming an eventual champion.  He has all the natural talent in the world, and he works hard to capitalize on it.  His submission defense was weak in his first fight, but Herring never even challenged it in their second fight, as Lesnar exhibited dominant control.  It's well known that submission defense is easier to learn than submission offense, and that will be Lesnar's focus.  He'll have challenges with Gonzaga, Werdum, Big Nog, and all the other great submission fighters along the way, but I see it as inevitable that Lesnar will learn to overcome even these fighters who are designed to beat him.  Lesnar will be Heavyweight Champion within the next two years.

Ryan Wales:

If you haven’t learned by reading everybody else’s writing, Lesnar is a big, strong, fast, genetic freak show.

He has devastating power that can change a fight with one shot. Lesnar won his fight with Herring the second that right hand landed. Herring was half-blind, shell-shocked and demoralized. 

 Lesnar’s power makes him a guy that you can’t trade punches with, if he lands a shot “on the button” you will wake up the following Monday in a hospital somewhere trying to remember why you jaw is wired shut.

To quote one of my favorite movies: “He has tools, He has the talent.” 

Now he just needs to execute.


It seems that most everyone thinks that Lesnar has the potential to be the future of the UFC’s Heavyweight division. He will face some challenges from the other men in the division and there are some very intriguing match-ups on the horizon. We will all have to wait and see if Brock truly has what it takes to the best the UFC has to offer.