One of the reasons Brock Lesnar was such a force to be reckoned with in the UFC was because of his amateur wrestling background. The two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion amassed a record of 106-4 and proved to be a serious powerhouse in the UFC heavyweight division.
After beating Randy Couture for the HW title in 2008, Lesnar used his wrestling to overwhelm and TKO Frank Mir at UFC 100. The 38-year-old retired after back-to-back losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem, citing health complications and diverticulitis, but will return to the Octagon against Mark Hunt at the blockbuster UFC 200 pay-per-view on July 9.
Chael Sonnen, a standout American wrestler himself, doesn’t believe Lesnar’s return will be a success and says his wrestling accomplishments are overstated.
“He wasn’t a really good wrestler, he was an effective wrestler, Sonnen told Submission Radio in a recent interview. “I’ll put this in perspective for you. In the NCAA when he won his national title, he was 265 pounds, which was the limit. In the finals, he had a guy that was 220 pounds and he had to go into double overtime with him. There’s not very many wrestlers alive, if any, that if they had a forty-five-pound weight advantage couldn’t put that guy away in about thirty seconds. So he was an effective wrestler, but you know, he had some size and he had a lot of other things to help him get his hand raised. It wasn’t skill and technique. He kept good position, he was a good competitor and he achieved some really great things.”
Hunt, a combat sports veteran of 68 professional fights and a former UFC title challenger, has improved his takedown defense and grappling skills over the years and ‘The American Gangster’ believes he will destroy Lesnar on July 9.
“So I don’t think that a guy as short as Hunt is just gonna get bum-rushed and taken down,” Sonne said. “You gotta understand, Brock hasn’t been in the ring in five years, Hunt was the number one contender within the last calendar year. So no, you don’t have to be exactly an MMA expert to be able to see how this fight goes. Hunt’s gonna wreck him.”
Despite his criticisms of Lesnar, Sonnen believes everyone should tune in to watch UFC 200 to witness a spectacular event.
“But Brock’s still stepping in there, and he’s a once-in-a-lifetime attraction. If Brock’s fighting, you don’t want to miss it. And this truly will be his last fight. Anytime there’s speculation “is this gonna be the guy’s last fight?” that helps to draw, that helps make you go “I don’t wanna miss it”. For sure this is Brock’s last fight. So yeah man, people want to see it. I’m one of those people.”
The PPV, which will feature Lesnar vs. Hunt in the co-main event, is headlined by a light heavyweight title unification bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier and is set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 9.
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