Following Jon Jones’ victory at last week’s UFC event, the accomplished combatant called out none other than Brock Lesnar for a fight in the octagon. The Beast hasn’t been seen in UFC since his one-off fight and dominant win over Mark Hunt over a year ago. It seemed a return to UFC for a fight against someone as unstoppable as Jones would seems a bit improbable. Considering Jones is in a lower weight class, this would be difficult to sanction. But bad blood and a good grudge always takes precedent over traditional matchups. The problem is, Jones is so damn good that this weight difference may not even matter; and he addressed this in saying, “Brock Lesnar, if you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by by a guy who weighs 40 lbs less than you, meet me in the octagon,” just before dropping the mic.
But in this age of WWE and UFC dream matches, it might just happen. The fight of the century in Mayweather/McGregor is just around the corner, and sets a precedent for these fantasy brawls, no matter how impractical. 2017, the year that brought us a reality show president also brings us many of these unforeseen freak show battle. It harkens back to a time when pro wrestling was in its infancy, where a circus-goer would accept the challenge of a strongman, or a man would wrestle a bear.
The modern day equivalent of this being that pro wrestling heels will wrestling other heels in matches like Samoa Joe vs. Brock Lesnar. And the most famous wrestlers from the two nations of Japan and the U.S. will wrestle on a Tuesday night. Yes, Shinsuke Nakamura got a clean win over John Cena on last week’s Smackdown, but not before nearly killing him by dumping him on his neck. The somehow unphased Cena seemed to be alright after his entire body weight crashed down on his spine, and was able to shake Nakamura’s hand after the match. This is huge for Nakamura, to say the least, and could rally into a WWE Championship victory over Jinder Mahal at Summerslam.
Maybe even more interesting from last week, was Paul Heyman announcing an extra stipulation for the Summerslam Fatal 4-way on Raw. In this battle of monsters between Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and Samoa Joe, it’s hard to really pin down if there’s a face in this match. Sure, Roman is supposed to be the babyface here, but Joe and Strowman have been the ones getting over as fan favorites. Either way, this is a cool concept. And as Heyman added, if Brock Lesnar loses this unfair match at Summerslam, he will leave the WWE. The question is whether or not this was going to be the stipulation before or after Jon Jones’ challenge.
This just goes to show how calculating the WWE can really be. They didn’t need to add the stipulation of Lesnar leaving, but just two days after Jones called out Lesnar on UFC, a light bulb went off. Whether or not Brock accepts this challenge, or is even contractually able to, doesn’t matter in the Summerslam hype. What does matter, is making the fans think he’s leaving to fight Jones, and therefore dropping his belt at Summerslam. Since it’s a fatal 4-way match, then the speculation turns to who the new champion will be. The obvious contender is Roman Reigns, but Samoa Joe has been on fire lately, and would make for a great new champ. Or, this could all be a ruse, and Lesnar will retain the title at Summerslam.
How quickly we forget why Lesnar hasn’t been fighting in the UFC for the past year anyway. After his victory over Hunt, Lesnar had tested positive for steroids. He was probably tested before the fight, but Dana White conveniently turned a blind eye to it until the day after the pay-per-view. Regardless, it’s highly likely that Lesnar would be caught using performance enhancing drugs again if he decides to suddenly face Jon Jones. And Dana White isn’t likely to try to play dumb again.
A little extra spice has been added to Summerslam with a well timed teaser from Paul Heyman. But if Lesnar truly does lose at Summerslam, this could mean that a UFC return could be imminent. Anything can happen in this world of combat sports, real or not.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke