Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar Returns to WWE

Brock Lesnar (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Lesnar reportedly signs one-year deal with pro wrestling promotion

The rumors turned out to be true. Brock Lesnar is back … with the WWE, that is.

Lesnar, just 18 months removed from his run as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight champion, is now back with World Wrestling Entertainment, the professional wrestling giant where he made his name between 2002 and 2004. Lesnar, as was heavily rumored and reported last week, returned to the WWE on Monday on its “Monday Night Raw” program – reportedly the start of a one-year deal.

Lesnar last fought for the UFC in December in the main event of UFC 141 in Las Vegas. He lost by first-round TKO to Alistair Overeem in a No. 1 contenders bout to determine the first challenger for new heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. After the fight, Lesnar told Joe Rogan in an in-cage interview that he was retiring from mixed martial arts – and that he had promised his family even had he won against Overeem, the plan was to fight just once more, regardless.

On Monday, UFC president Dana White said in a post at The Underground forum that Lesnar was free to sign with the WWE if he wanted.

“Brock is retired and can do WWE!,” White wrote in his post. “I have said in a million interviews HE CAN DO WWE. … The Rock is a friend who always supports the UFC and I supported his event tonight. As far as Brock goes, he has always been great with us and if he cut a deal with Vince for WWE I am happy for him.”

On “Raw,” Lesnar did not appear until the end of the broadcast in Miami. With John Cena already in the ring, Lesnar’s music came up and he walked to the ring. Cena was part of the Sunday main event at Wrestlemania against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – a UFC fan and friend of White’s. After circling the ring, Lesnar entered to greet a smirking Cena. When Cena extended his hand to Lesnar, Lesnar took it – and scooped Cena up and onto his shoulders before delivering an “F5” slam, the move that was his trademark finisher in the WWE. Lesnar stood over Cena for a few seconds, shouting – though without a microphone; Lesnar did not make any official comments on the show – and kicked Cena’s hat away from him.

Lesnar and Cena had a scripted feud during Lesnar’s first run in the WWE, and with Monday’s return it appears that the first storyline for Lesnar will be a renewed feud with Cena. Lesnar also had memorable feuds with The Rock and the Undertaker in his time with the WWE. After Lesnar lost his UFC heavyweight title at UFC 121, he walked out of the Octagon – and past the Undertaker, who was being interviewed by Ariel Helwani. In a now-famous moment, the Undertaker stared a defeated Lesnar down and asked him, “Do you wanna do it?” as Lesnar continued walking. That set the rumor mill ablaze, in October 2010, that Lesnar may have been setting up a future feud for a possible return to the WWE.

Lesnar won the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 91 in just his fourth professional MMA bout. He went on to defend it against Frank Mir at UFC 100 and Shane Carwin at UFC 116. But at UFC 121 in October 2010, he lost the title to Cain Velasquez. After a second surgery for diverticulitis, Lesnar returned to fight Overeem at UFC 141, which became his last fight in the UFC. He retired with a 5-3 record, 4-3 in the UFC. He lost his UFC debut at UFC 81 to Mir, who submitted him with a kneebar. But after beating Heath Herring at UFC 87, he dominated Randy Couture to win the UFC heavyweight title.

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