Brock Lesnar's run in World Wrestling Entertainment might be coming to an end. Or, at least his contract is expiring after WrestleMania in a few weeks, making him the hottest free agent in combat sports. WWE, the UFC and Bellator have all expressed interest in securing Lesnar's services, according to Sporting News.
Where should Lesnar go? Should he stick around the relatively safer confines of a WWE schedule that allows him to work limited dates each year for a massive amount of money? Lesnar's friend, Paul Heyman, told Fox Sports The Beast is healed from the diverticulitis that caused him so much grief during his run as UFC heavyweight champion.
Should Lesnar, if he's actually healed, go back and try to prove to himself and to the world that he's better than the way his days in the UFC ended?
To discuss this hot topic, Bleacher Report lead writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter teamed up, like a prettier version of The Bushwackers, to discuss where Lesnar should stick with professional wrestling or go back to the Octagon.
Jonathan: At the Royal Rumble in January, Brock Lesnar wowed WWE fans with what may have been the single best performance of his legendary career. The 300-pound behemoth did it all—he suplexed John Cena on his head, menaced any and everyone ringside and even managed to appear vulnerable when Seth Rollins creamed him with a death-defying elbow drop through the announce table.
This was, without exaggeration, American wrestling at its finest. Lesnar is simply one of the best wrestlers in the world. Wrestling, despite what you might think, is an incredibly intricate activity, demanding both physically and mentally. It's a gift—and he has it.
When Brock Lesnar is in the ring, it isn't safe to look away. A true artist, he has that edge that compels you to track his every move. When Lesnar is at work, a very scripted sport suddenly doesn't feel so safe.
That edge doesn't exist because he's a big hoss of a man. That description fits any number of wrestlers, rough and ready men who exude toughness. No, it's a product of Brock's time in the UFC. Knowing that he's capable of horrendous and truly impressive acts of real-life violence. UFC made Lesnar, already a special pro wrestler, truly extraordinary.
In fact, his time in the Octagon worked so well, Lesnar has gotten so good it's almost a shame to think about losing him back to the UFC. Brock Lesnar is the best wrestler in the world. I hate the idea of letting him go. Jeremy, please say it isn't so!
Jeremy: I hate the idea, too. To be blunt, Lesnar is just about the only interesting thing in WWE these days, because he is a relic of bygone times. In the old days, we liked our pro wrestlers to be real-life tough guys, or at least make us believe they were. Those times are gone. The next generation of wrestlers are dudes who use selfie sticks? Are you kidding?
When Lesnar is in the ring, you feel like anything could happen. The guy does whatever he wants to do, and not even Vince McMahon can control him. Take a look at last Monday night, when Lesnar walked out of Monday Night Raw due to a disagreement with McMahon. How many people have the stones to do that? There is Lesnar, and that's about it.
As much as I want Lesnar to continue being an awesome professional wrestler, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want him back in the Octagon, even if it means risking poor Frank Mir's health in the process.
I just wish there was a way he could do both. But if I had to pick, I'd like to see him back in the UFC.
Jonathan: I'm not sure I do. The last time we saw him was legitimately sad. Alistair Overeem beat him like he was a wrestling jobber or a mid-level henchman in a Steven Seagal movie.
It was brutal.
I know Brock had lingering health issues. You could see a physical difference between the man who steamrolled Frank Mir and the one who got punched in the face over and over again by human energy drink Shane Carwin. You might even be able to talk me into the idea that he's not sick anymore.
But, even if that's true, he's still 37 years old. He's never going to be the Brock Lesnar from UFC 100. That's just not in the cards. Maybe, at his age, a healthy Lesnar could still run over low-level UFC heavyweights.
Is that enough?
This is Broooooock Leeeeesnar, as our friend Paul Heyman might say. He was a force of nature. I want to remember him as he was, rampaging around the Octagon, riding Heath Herring like a horse and calling out the UFC's biggest sponsor just for kicks. Beating up Brendan Schaub just won't be quite the same.
So, I'll give you the last word, Jeremy. You say the UFC is the way to go. Convince me.
Jeremy: I think the real way to go is to do both wrestling and UFC at the same time. But yeah, if that isn't in the cards, then I would prefer to see him back in mixed martial arts.
Here's the thing: Because of his illness, we don't really know how good Lesnar would have been over the long haul. I'm not saying he would have been the best fighter in the history of the sport. I don't think he beats Cain Velasquez even if he's 100 percent healthy, and it has nothing to do with age and everything to do with Lesnar getting in the sport late in life.
But I do believe that illness hampered him in some fashion. And at this point, at 37 years old, the intrigue of Lesnar back in UFC isn't even about title contention. It is about spectacle. The UFC can see the success Bellator is having putting together fights between old, famous people. Lesnar brings that kind of success on his own. You could throw Brock in the Octagon with Ben Rothwell, and it would draw eyeballs.
Besides, what else is there to do in pro wrestling? He was put over The Undertaker at WrestleMania last year, ending a storyline that lasted 21 years! That will never be replicated. He'll go to WrestleMania this year and put over Roman Reigns, passing the torch to a new generation of star. Where does he go from there?
I want to see Lesnar back in the UFC. I am perhaps being selfish, but it is true that things are just more interesting with him around. And I'd like to see how he competes, even at 37 years old, if his health is truly intact.