The names of UFC Hall of Famers are ones that historians of the sport would all notice; they all have similarities in terms of their career path.
The great eight -and soon to be exceptional nine once Tito Ortiz is added to that list pretty soon- all had exceptional careers. They exhibited a longevity in a sport that craves quick finishes. Many can not match that.
I will throw another hat in the ring.
I think Brock Lesnar is a Hall of Famer. His record doesn’t suggest Hall of Fame consideration as Lesnar finished with a meager 5-3 mma record.
Ultimately his career is incomplete. We’ll always contemplate what could have been.
Lesnar won’t get a chance to complete his UFC career. According to Dana White, a meeting with Lesnar about a possible return after UFC 146 went poorly.
“The meeting we had didn’t really go very well. It wasn’t a great meeting. It was probably one of the worst meetings we’ve ever had with Brock Lesnar, White said.
“I honestly have not talked to him since, so I don’t know where we are at. All the stuff you are seeing on the Internet is typical Internet bullsh*t. I don’t know. It was really bad. It was the worst meeting I’ve ever had with Brock Lesnar. In my opinion, it couldn’t have gone worse.”
Without a definite future, I am basing my opinion on what Lesnar has already accomplished.
He entered the sport with limited training and no experience within mixed martial arts. A wrestling background is all he was equipped with and that eventually became his downfall. Lesnar never progressed as a fighter to garner the all-around skill that other great fighters possess.
GSP gets better at a different facet of mma during every training camp. Now he can win a fight anywhere or anyway in the Octagon. He has eliminated his weaknesses and made them strengths.
Lesner is not GSP.
Lesnar never evolved. That is the biggest knock on his record.
He was polarizing but at his peak. It was a short peak though.
Lesnar’s size is physically imposing. He’s every bit of 6’3, 265 lbs. The former wrestler is the UFC’s version of LeBron James, only five inches shorter.
His strategy was simple. He took you to the ground and held you there with his huge frame. Once you were down, you were not getting up. He was too big and too strong. You were down until the bell rung or he finished you.
Lesnar was never given a learning curve. From day 1 he faced top competition. His first fight in the UFC was against Frank Mir, a two time champion.
It was a loss, but as impressive a first round submission loss could be. He dominated Mir from the opening bell. Lesnar was just careless and it cost him a victory.
Next came an easy victory over Heath Herring, a win over Hall of Famer and champion at the time, Randy Couture, followed by a bit of payback in a dominating title defense over Frank Mir; then a comeback victory against Shane Carwin.
That’s where the fairy tale ended. Lesnar wasn’t himself after a bout with mononucleosis that sidelined him for more than a year. Lesnar almost died.
As a champion Lesnar was arrogant, his post fight antics after his victory over Mir secured that title proved that. But it was entertaining nonetheless.
Entertaining. That was Lesnar’s endearing quality.
He put faces in Pay Per Views. He drew interest in the US to a level that MMA had never seen before his arrival. Lesnar was the first fighter to push a million Pay Per View sales.
He brought so many new fans into the sport, myself included, who stayed with the sport and are avid supporters now. That can’t be replaced or duplicated.
Though he only defended his heavyweight belt twice, his impact is immeasurable. The UFC is on an entirely different plane.
ESPN now covers MMA. There is a weekly 30 minute show devoted to it. SportsCenter reports the victors of the main event. The UFC is now growing exponentially.
It all can’t be attributed to Lesnar but he was certainly the driving force.
He is the biggest stateside star who ever graced the UFC with his presence.
That’s enough to be enshrined in my opinion.