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Brock Lesnar: The Modern Day Bo Jackson

By: Damon Sloan

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We have seen many talented athletes be dynamic and play multiple sports through their career. Bo Jackson is the most renowned athlete to be able to dominate in two sports; both football and baseball. But in the new decade, the 2000’s era, we have another dynamic athlete of our own; his name is Brock Lesnar. The “Beast Incarnate” has managed to become a household name in both the Ultimate Fighting Championships and World Wrestling Entertainment and wants to cement his name as the most dominant and multitalented athlete that our generation has ever seen. More than Bo Jackson? It’s possible.

Even despite the completely unsurprising announcement that the UFC was notified by USADA of a potential anti-doping violation by Lesnar from a test done before UFC 200, Lesnar is a complete freak athlete who looks like the most intimidating combat fighter in history. And besides, so many fighters get busted for performance enhancing drugs and simply return to a loud crowd cheering for them (see Anderson Silva) that it is not even something that tarnishes a fighter’s legacy any more.

Coming back into the UFC after five years away Lesnar was able to manhandle one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the UFC, Mark Hunt. Really, Hunt did nothing. The fight was so one-sided that had it been a fight in the video game Mortal Kombat, Lesnar may have even had a “perfect.”

Las Vegas and some MMA purist who refused to believe a guy from pro wrestling can come over and beat up one of their heaviest hitters may have had him as an underdog, but they were the only ones. Even after the loss of the highly-anticipated Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier rematch was pulled from the card, Lesnar absolutely saved it as the main attraction because he’s so must-see.

And that is why he’s been able to break out into the mainstream.

But as far as being a two-sport athlete, let’s call WWE what it is, it’s choreographed fighting with predetermined outcomes. But not just anybody can make it to the top, and Lesnar does deserve a lot of credit for being able to become a featured star in both the WWE and UFC.

Brock LesnarWWE does actually require a lot of athletic ability to make the matches look real. Lesnar is far from the only absolutely insane ripped guy who looks like a shredded mountain. WWE has had plenty of them, but they quickly go away when it’s clear they can’t move, they are slow and they have no athletic ability. Lesnar absolutely has tremendous in-ring ability. He proved himself long before the UFC with two collegiate national championships in wrestling and he may have gone back-to-back at Minnesota had he not run into future Stephen Neal, a stalwart of the New England Patriots offensive line from 2001 to 2010.

And that ability and his size and his look and intimidation factor have all made up for his non-existent mic skills. Just to have Lesnar on broadcast they have to pair him with with a mouthpiece. They have to avoid having him participate in what 90-percent of WWE is — audience interaction and acting.

In 2004 when Lesnar decided to try to pursue a career in professional football with the Minnesota Vikings and left the WWE, athletically, there was no double he could complete. However, he was way too raw of an athlete and had a bad attitude that prevented him from making the team. With nothing to do, Lesnar discovered the growing combat sport of MMA.

Here we had a WWE star wanting to step into the cage to fight for real.

Of course, though, he dominated.

He still had his tremendous amateur wrestling background and skills to fall back on and his strength and power and his look would intimidate fighters while he stood across the cage before the opening bell.

In his first ever-MMA fight, Lesnar dominated Min-Soo Kim at the K-1 Dynamite!! USA show. He didn’t win by decision, he didn’t knock him out, he didn’t even win by submission. No, he hit him with some incredibly hard punches and made the guy tap out after he hit him a few times. Submission by punches; that’s just not something you see very often.

Quickly after that win, the UFC came calling and despite just one professional fight, they put him on a fast-track to a title fight. Immediately, they had him fight the Frank Mir; a long-time UFC veteran and ranked opponent. Lesnar may have been caught by a kneebar in the first round and lost, but he dominated that fight before Mir grabbed a hold of his leg. It didn’t derail Lesnar’s assent to the top. Lesnar beat up another long-time UFC legend Heath Herring in his next fight, breaking his orbital bone in the first round. That one victory got Lesnar a title fight and in only his fourth professional fight he completely destroyed UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

Brock Lesnar 2It was the greatest debut year in UFC history and he went on to defend his title twice against Mir and Shane Carwin, both in dominating ways. Lesnar made up for his loss to Mir with a second round knockout and had a second title defense with a second round arm-triangle choke submission in the second round. His two defenses is actually tied for the longest title reign in the history of the heavyweight division.

Unfortunately, diverticulitis led to the end of Lesnar’s reign in the UFC after two years. Diverticulitis is a digestive disease that causes your large bowel wall to be inflamed. He looked different in that fight. He didn’t look like the monster he was, he looked weaker and smaller than usual. He lost by first round TKO.

The diverticulitis then cost him a fight against Junior Dos Santos from ever happening and more struggled led to a beating by Alistair Overeem in 2011 and ultimately his retirement from the cage. It was a promising career cut short by health and not lack of ability.

But still the most dominant force in combat sports, Lesnar returned to the WWE and immediately became the must-see attraction; only being put in feuds against the top guys in the business and being made a featured wrestler on the biggest pay per views. Lesnar became the man to end the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak. Why? Because he was the only man who could believably do the unthinkable.

This did not come without controversy, though. Lesnar did all of this in his return to the WWE as a part time wrestler. He only would show up a few times a year, not every week. He was the given the championship belt and wouldn’t even show up for a month. It’s no surprise some full-time wrestlers would show up every single night and but their bodies on the line in crazy matches and would go through tables or get hit with chairs would be upset with the fact that he could come around whenever he wanted and be the face of the company.

But it was just like his career with the UFC, because he was so big and had such great look and was the most must-see guy in combat sports, he could call his own shots. Politics of the WWE or UFC mean nothing when it comes to him. He was brought back to the UFC after five years and even though he wasn’t in the main event slot, he was the main event and poster boy of UFC 200, the grandest event in promotion history that was supposed to be a showcase for the best in the UFC.

While Lesnar may not have played the traditional sports like Jackson, he, like Jackson, is a freak athlete who can do things that other people just can’t do. He really is one of the most superior athletes that have ever graced either the cage or stepped between the ropes. He’s the baddest man on the planet in all of his sports ventures.

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Damon Sloan

Staff Writer
Damon Has been an athlete his entire life. He started playing basketball when he was three-years-old and played competitively all the way through his high school years. He had a chance to pursue a collegiate basketball career but chose to focus on getting his education. Damon knew he wanted to be around sports and he was always interested in knowing statistics about players and could separate the good players from the bad. Growing up his mother called him the "stat king" because he could tell you any statistic about any player. Damon wants to be versatile in writing not just for basketball, but for football, boxing, and mixed martial arts. One thing that may separate Damon from other journalists is that he isn't just knowledgeable about basketball, but he played at a high level for years and still continues to play today, which helps him mold his knowledge of the game.

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