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Brock Lesnar's UFC 200 opponent: Mark Hunt

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar will face Mark Hunt on the main card of UFC 200, announced on ESPN SportsCenter Monday morning in an interview with Hannah Storm.

In the interview, Lesnar talked about how he second-guessed his decision to retire from the moment he made it 15 months ago.  At the time, Lesnar had done a secret training camp and claimed that the fire wasn't in him, and did, given his stage, what most were expecting and considered the "smart" move of signing a three-year deal with WWE and officially returning.

When asked why he was fighting, Lesnar said, "Because I couldn't live with that decision. Going back to that (prevous interview with Michelle Beadle) interview, it was a hard decision for me to make. That decision has haunted me for the last 15 months and I couldn't live life like that for the rest of my life.  I'm a big believer of `I don't want to be sitting 20 years from now and saying I should have done it."

Lesnar claimed the return was all his doing, that he made the first call to Dana White, and that it led to White and Vince McMahon making "billionaire decisions."  He gave no details on what it took to put the deal together past that it was good business for everyone. He laughed that his pay "has a lot of 0s" behind it.

Mark Hunt

More On Hunt

The 42-year-old Hunt is a fan favorite that has won two straight, beating both Frank Mir and Bigfoot Silva by first round T/KO. He's a serious threat to Lesnar, even on the wrong side of 40.

The announcement of Hunt was notable because the reality is he has a tremendous chance, perhaps more than any fighter on the roster, to give Lesnar the kind of a knockout that not only could end his comeback, but damage his reputation. Lesnar seemed unconcerned about his opponent. From the start, Lesnar always wanted to face the toughest guys possible in his career and there was never talk that he turned down opponents.

Hunt is 42, older than Lesnar, but he has perhaps the best one punch knockout power in the sport.  He can be taken down, as Stipe Miocic showed, but he's knocked out Bigfoot Silva, Frank Mir and Roy Nelson in recent years. He also gave Fabricio Werdum an early beating before succumbing to the Mexico City altitude in a title fight he took on short notice.

Years ago, when Hunt was limited on the ground and Lesnar was younger, he may have been able to use his wrestling to control Hunt as others have done so in the past, which is why Hunt has so many losses. But even then, because of his one punch power, he'd have been a risk.

Lesnar vs. Mir

The Decision

The UFC, in a deal worked with the WWE, is bringing Lesnar back for a one-off appearance at UFC 200 on 7/9 at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The 38-year-old (5-3) hasn't been in action since December 2011 since losing a first round TKO to Alistair Overeem.

McMahon making the deal to put Lesnar in a situation where he could be humiliated is notable and there had to be enough of a deal from the UFC side to cause that decision. McMahon, in contracts with talent, specifically doesn't allow them to do MMA.

Obviously, his window of opportunity is closing, and perhaps from an age standpoint, it appeared to be closed when he turned down the UFC in his last negotiations.

It's been said Lesnar has a contractual clause that allows him to do UFC, although he did say that McMahon and White were involved in making the deal happen. Lesnar was going to fight Fedor Emelianenko a few years ago and the deal was agreed upon by both sides and UFC was going to book it at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Then Emelianenko's father passed away, and when that happened, Emelianenko pulled out of the fight.

Lesnar has been training in Minnesota with Greg Nelson of late and Nelson claimed Lesnar was better than ever, but that's what people are going to say no matter what. Lesnar has talked about being robbed of his prime by diverticulitis, which he was suffering from and was weakening him long before the attack that threatened his life. He claims to be fully recovered, but he's 38, rudimentary in striking, and while physically powerful and a great wrestler in his day, this is more of a challenge than most would have expected.

He claimed he was sitting and having a cup of coffee on his farm in Canada when he decided to call UFC and get the ball rolling, which he indicated was about three months ago. He claimed he had no say on his opponent.

"Why not," he said about Hunt. "It could be anybody. I don't care. I didn't have any say. I've never turned down a fight in the UFC even when I was the champion. I never turned down a fight."

On the flip side, as much money as Lesnar makes in WWE, he can earn more in UFC.  The timing was right from a UFC standpoint if Lesnar was willing.

Lesnar wouldn't say how much he was making, but indicated the number was huge. He also gave the indication that if he did well, he was open to fighting again.

The interview he gave making one think he came back because he felt robbed of what he could have accomplished without the illness, the same thing said when he was negotiating in 2015 but turned down the offer, is the right thing to say.  If that was the case, and he wanted to show what he could have done, this wouldn't be a one and done deal provided he won.

And unlike being handed an easy opponent, if he was to win, this would be a significant accomplishment.  He also said he doesn't fight for titles, he fights for his bank account.

He called himself "the modern day Bo Jackson" and plugged that he'll be at SummerSlam as well, but said he has no idea what the plan is for that.

When asked about the Ariel Helwani situation, he said he had no idea who that was. He was also asked about Muhammad Ali and he talked about meeting him and how powerful that was even though Ali didn't say a thing.

He was also asked about Conor McGregor's boasts that he is the biggest PPV draw UFC has. He didn't have that much to say on that.

On Saturday's Wrestling Observer Radio for subscribers, we discussed the Lesnar return in great detail, as well as the other happenings from UFC 199.