When former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar steps into the octagon against former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem on December 30, in the Main Event of UFC 141. It will have been 433 days since Lesnar's last fight.
A TKO loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 back in October of 2010, where Lesnar lost the UFC Heavyweight title.
Much has happened in the heavyweight division since Lesnar's last fight.
Junior Dos Santos has won the UFC Heavyweight title, with a TKO against Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 to win the championship.
Frank Mir has won two fights in a row, giving him three in a row overall. He put himself right back in position for another title shot.
Cheick Kongo has won two fights in a row and has entered a short list of top contenders.
Mark Hunt, Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub, and Dave Herman have all picked up impressive wins inside the octagon.
So where does all of this leave Lesnar?
A win against Overeem puts Lesnar in a title fight with Dos Santos some time in the Summer of 2012, when Dos Santos returns from his meniscus injury.
But a loss would mean a big setback for his career.
After two bouts with diverticulitis, Lesnar's career has turned into somewhat of a race against the clock. That may be the case for his life as well.
Against someone like Overeem, who has 15 KO/TKO wins in his career, he will be looking to attack Lesnar's mid-section, the location of his diverticulitis.
Lesnar has two things going for him right now:
1. After Dos Santos, Mir, Velasquez, and Overeem, there are no heavyweights worthy of being included in a "Tier 1" category. There is a horrible lack of top contenders in that division right now.
A fight between Kongo and Browne would be interesting to see who truly belongs in the elite class, but that fight is a long way from even being proposed. Let alone happening.
2. Lesnar is one of the biggest draws, if not the biggest draw in the UFC today or ever. Joe Silva will always be looking to put him in big fights to rack in big Pay-Per-View numbers.
Lesnar has appeared in the Main Event in four of the top six PPV's in UFC history, including the top two.
A loss in a week and a half would, for the time being, knock Lesnar out of the top tier. It would make him an attractive opponent for Shane Carwin when he returns from surgery in mid-2012. It would be a rematch of their heavyweight title match from July of 2010.
For Lesnar, 25 minutes on Saturday may very well decide the rest of his life.
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