Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

  • The mere thought of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fighting in the UFC may sound far-fetched, but it may have been closer to reality than you would originally think.

    Before he became a wildly successful actor, the former WWE superstar was tempted to try his hand at mixed martial arts. The Rock revealed his one-time desire to transition from pro wrestling to MMA in an interview on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.

    In the early 2000s, The Rock was at the pinnacle of success as a WWE superstar. He was the champion and easily the most recognizable face in sports entertainment – alongside “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. His crossover success opened doors for him to become an actor and Johnson decided to depart from the WWE full-time in 2004 to pursue the new career path. But the success that he hoped for in Hollywood had eluded and, eventually, frustrated him.

    “There was a time when my movies weren’t doing that well and I had a hard time finding my groove and figuring out what the audiences wanted to see from me,” Johnson told Matt Serra and Jim Norton. “So I was making these movies – to use a baseball analogy – I was hitting singles and doubles. At that point I was like what the [expletive] do I have to do?”

    Johnson explained that he had long been a fan of mixed martial arts and recalled watching the first UFC tournament while playing college football. With his acting career in limbo, Johnson considered a path that has since been taken by former pro wrestlers turned MMA fighters Brock Lesnar and CM Punk.

    “I achieved everything I wanted to achieve in WWE, my movie career is floundering a little bit, what do I do?" Johnson said. "I was relatively still young, I think I was 34. I thought, oh well maybe UFC. Maybe I should do something like that."

    After some consideration, however, Johnson decided to stick with acting and eventually found his groove as one of the biggest stars on the screen today.

    "In my head, I felt like it was at least a two-year process for me to even get in the [cage], let alone the UFC," Johnson said. "I wasn't quite too sure what to do or what kind of people to put around me at the time, so the idea kind of fizzled out and I continued to stay on the path of movie making."

    Since then, Johnson has had prominent roles in blockbuster films such as the “Fast & Furious” series, “San Andreas,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and recently starred alongside Kevin Hart in the comedy “Central Intelligence,” that topped the box office to the tune of $35 million. Suffice to say, he made the right decision. But he’s still a fan and hoping that his filming schedule will let up so he can attend UFC 200.

    "Anybody, by the way, who is successful in one area and then commits to MMA, I just feel like it's the toughest [expletive] sport in the world," Johnson said. "I always take my hat off to those guys."

  • There have been questions when (or if) former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks would ever make his UFC debut after signing with the MMA promotion 18 months ago. But CM Punk finally revealed that he will enter the cage at UFC 203 on Sept. 10 in Cleveland.

    His opponent will be Mickey Gall, who earned the fight by scoring a 45-second submission victory over Mike Jackson back in February.

    This will finally end the speculation regarding whether the former sports entertainer can make the transition to mixed martial arts. Unlike Brock Lesnar, who successfully took to the sport and became a heavyweight champion, Punk doesn’t have amateur wrestling credentials or freakish size and athleticism. He’s been a work in progress since joining Duke Roufus’ Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee and rumors regarding Punk’s progression have been littering the web.

    Injuries have slowed down his training since signing in December 2014. A shoulder injury put him on the shelf last October and just when it appeared that Punk would debut at UFC 199 or 200, a back injury and subsequent surgery derailed those plans. But now the world will get to see whether the popular pro wrestling talent is ready for the bright lights of the UFC.

    “The instant I got cleared, I got on the horn and nailed everything down,” said CM Punk on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “I’m happy to have a date, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

    The 37-year-old will be facing Gall, who is 2-0 in professional MMA fights, and has been adamant in a number of interviews that he’ll finish CM Punk early. Both of his finishes have come in the first round via submission.

    “I think there’s a lot of suspect people out there with their opinions that they are going to throw a tomato can at me,” Punk said. “But I think we’re almost [physically] identical. The experience advantage goes to him; he’s fought in the Octagon and I haven’t.”

    Ultimately, Punk said that this was an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up and, win or lose, he’ll have no regrets.

    “I didn’t want to wake up someday [thinking to myself that] I wish I’d have done this. I look at everything in my life as a learning experience and this is no different.”

  • Before Ronda Rousey had crossover success in the worlds of mixed martial arts and Hollywood, there was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The former UFC light heavyweight champion, who will return to fighting after a one-year layoff when he faces Satoshi Ishii at Bellator 157 on June 24, has seen his fair share of success as an actor as well as a MMA fighter.

    After having a prominent role in 2010’s “The A-Team” remake as B.A. Baracus, Rampage could have thrust himself into Hollywood’s arms and tried to balance a career in both. However, the 38-year-old explains that fighters who try to juggle two two careers will likely find themselves failing at one of them.

    “There’s no way you can do both at the same time,” Jackson told Yahoo Sports. “You can’t train for a fight and shoot a movie. Your focus has to be on that fight.”

    As a fighter who tried to walk the tightrope, albeit briefly, perhaps he can understand the challenges that Rousey has had better than most. Some have suggested that she has lost the desire to fight now that she’s had a taste of Hollywood and others blamed her desire to be a movie star as the reason she was knocked out by Holly Holm last November. Jackson may not entirely agree with that assessment because he knows what it’s like to try and dabble elsewhere, only to need to recalibrate and regain focus on what got him here in the first place: fighting.

    Rampage says that today he feels better than ever and is fully committed to fighting because nothing matches the adrenaline rush of competing in the cage.

    “Acting isn’t real but fighting is real,” Jackson said. “I love acting but when you knock somebody you get this high that you can’t get anywhere else. I’ve tried to reproduce that adrenaline rush when I drive my car or I do something to try to scare myself, but you can’t get it anywhere else besides kicking somebody’s ass in the cage.”

    Jackson recently revealed that he turned down a role in 2009’s "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" because he needed to focus on a fight and didn’t want to end up losing because his attention was elsewhere.

    “ 'The Wolverine' offer was a pretty good but fighting is my day job,” Jackson said before explaining how trying to divide his focus between acting and training cost him in a big fight. “It just came at a bad time. It’s the story of my life. 'The A-Team' came at a bad time as well and I took the time off instead of preparing for Rashad Evans and I paid the price for it.”

    Jackson says that he’s still interested in doing movies but he certainly won’t allow it to affect his training. He’s fully engaged in his upcoming fight with Ishii, a 2008 Judo gold medalist for Japan, and despite claims earlier in his career that he’d retire by the age of 35, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight for the 16-year veteran.

    “I was supposed to be old at 35, but my body is not telling me that I’m old," Jackson said. "And what would I do if I retired? My trainers are retired and old as dirt but now they wish they were fighting again. I’m thinking that I don’t want to be old like them and mad because I retired too early.”

  • With the rumors and conflicting stories circulating about the possible sale of the UFC, everyone involved with mixed martial arts is weighing in on the future of the biggest organization in all of MMA.

    Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture offered his take on the situation during an appearance on ESPN100.

    "I've heard a strong rumor that it is sold,” Couture said. “... Lorenzo's [Fertitta] out. Dana [White] is still in. Four-billion-dollar price tag, somewhere thereabouts. I heard from fairly reliable sources that that's happening."

    Couture conducted the interview prior to a FloCombat story saying Zuffa had accepted a $4.2 billion bid for the UFC. Couture’s take bears many similarities, but the UFC is vehemently denying that the company has been sold.

    Couture stands as one of the most prominent figures to compete in the UFC; he started his career there back at UFC 13 in 1997 and fought his final fight for the organization in 2011 at UFC 129. He’s been there during the dark ages and helped pull it into greener pastures as a beloved fighter and also was a coach for the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter."

    So Couture's opinions on the promotion are worth hearing, even if his relationship with the organization has been a bit turbulent, to say the least. And even he was shocked at the massive selling price that has been discussed.

    "That's a crazy number,” Couture said. “We were doing the first season of 'The Ultimate Fighter.' They were [$40 million] down and spent another 11 to get that show on the air. We were very concerned they were going to sell the company or the sport, under that brand, would die for sure."

    The sport is arguably more popular than it has ever been with the emergence of stars such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. And that has fueled speculation that the company would eventually sell when it was at its peak. However, the idea of Dana White retaining his position as UFC president doesn’t necessarily sit well with the 52-year-old.

    “If the UFC has a problem right now as a brand, it's an image problem,” Couture said. “How they act and how they treat the fighters and the things that they do with their fighters that are in their stable and lot of that trickles down from [Dana White] - his attitude. His attitude when he does interviews. His attitude when he deals with the media. His attitude when he deals with his fighters.”

    It's worth noting that Couture and White haven’t always seen eye to eye on matters and that could be playing a role in the retired fighter’s opinion. But Couture ultimately feels that White needs an attitude adjustment if the company is going to climb higher under new ownership.

    “I don't understand. If I bought the company and wanted to change that or take it to the next level, I'm thinking you need a change of face, you need a change of image,” Couture said.

    “They need somebody to show them the ropes. But are those really the ropes you want to be shown? Some of those ropes are pretty sour in my mind."

  • A UFC spokesman on Monday shot down a FloCombat report that indicated ownership had accepted an offer of $4.2 billion to sell the company.

    Dave Sholler, the UFC's vice president of public relations, athlete marketing and development, sent a statement to Yahoo Sports late Monday denying the story.

    "FloCombat.com's report indicating that the UFC has been sold is false," Sholler said in the statement. "We've communicated that to our staff members tonight via an internal memo."

    Sholler would not answer questions and UFC president Dana White declined comment. ESPN reported on May 9 that the UFC was in the advanced stages of talks to sell the company. White denied that to Yahoo Sports on that day.

    Jeremy Botter of FloCombat reported Monday that according to multiple unnamed sources, a group led by WME/IMG would purchase the UFC for $4.2 billion. According to Botter's report, the majority of money for the deal would come from Chinese companies Dalian Wanda Group and TenCent Holdings. In addition, Botter reported that The Kraft Group, owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, is also part of the deal to buy the UFC.

    There have been rumors for several months about the potential sale, but none have been able to be confirmed. If the UFC is, indeed, sold for $4.2 billion, it would be the largest sports sale in history. Last July, Forbes named the Real Madrid soccer team as the world's most valuable sports franchise at $3.26 billion. White and partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001 from Semaphore Entertainment Group.

    Ari Emanuel, the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is the co-chair of WME and is close with UFC top management, including White and the Fertitta brothers. WME also represents former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

  • Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson staked his claim as the No. 1 contender to Robbie Lawler’s UFC welterweight title with a tactical dissection of Rory MacDonald en route to a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 89 at the TD Place Arena in Ottawa, Canada.

    The No. 2-ranked Thompson utilized his world-class kickboxing and takedown defense to nullify any grappling advantages that the No. 1-ranked MacDonald was assumed to have coming into the fight. But it was an extremely technical fight as Thompson carefully placed his punches and kicks while MacDonald, who is a counterstriker, tried his best to find an opening.

    In the end, Thompson prevailed with scores of 50-45, 50-45 and 48-47 in a fight that was much closer than the scorecards may indicate.

    "Title belt! Robbie Lawler!” Thompson said afterward, clearly indicating that he has his eyes set on the welterweight title. “I want the winner of Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley in New York!"

    He’s certainly deserving of a title shot as his current roll of seven straight wins includes victories over MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Patrick Cote, Robert Whitaker and a scintillating knockout of former champion Johny Hendricks in February. His latest victory over MacDonald is impressive considering that the Canadian was one fight removed from a remarkable war with champion Robbie Lawler last July and sought to move right back into the title picture.

    But this night most definitely belonged to Wonderboy.

    In the opening stanza, MacDonald figured to drag the fight to the mat and attempted a pair of rolling leglocks to catch "Wonderboy" off-guard. However, Thompson had little problem pulling away from his opponent’s tricky submission attempts. After the failed submissions, MacDonald tried to takedown Thompson the conventional way and found that the 33-year-old had an extraordinarily formidable takedown defense that regularly stuffed MacDonald’s advances.

    From there it was a game of range as Thompson expertly utilized his speed and attacked the torso of MacDonald with kicks and countered whenever his Canadian opponent charged in.

    It was a methodically paced fight that drew sporadic boos from the crowd in Canada. However, Thompson managed to land 124 total strikes throughout the contest – double the amount that MacDonald landed (61). In the middle rounds, "Wonderboy" would crank up the aggression and bust MacDonald’s face up with heavy punches. By the final round, with MacDonald desperately trying to find an offensive strategy that would work, Thompson expertly evaded and countered MacDonald’s advances while also leaving his face a bloody mess.

    "I expected to come out and for it to be a little more of a war," Thompson said. "I didn't think Rory would be prepared for the angles and the speed. As soon as I met him in the middle, just by his stance, I realized this is going to be a chess match."

    The victory puts him in line for the winner of Robbie Lawler’s title defense against Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 on June 30th.

    With Thompson firmly planting himself as the No. 1 contender, there was also another future welterweight title contender who continued to impress since bumping up a weight class.

    Donald Cerrone’s campaign at 170 pounds continued with a impressive third-round TKO of Patrick Cote in what was one of Cerrone’s best all-around performances to date. In each of the three rounds, Cerrone would deposit Cote to the canvas before finally finishing the job in the third. "Cowboy" mixed it up with his top-notch grappling and outdueled Cote when the fight was brought to the feet. Cote, who once campaigned at light heavyweight and also challenged Anderson Silva for the middleweight title, was no match for Cerrone despite the assumed size advantage. A crushing left hook sent Cote down in the third and Cerrone wasted no time pouncing on his wounded opponent and earning the stoppage.

    With his second victory in a row at welterweight, Cerrone has cemented himself as a threat to the division after a strong campaign as a lightweight.

  • The highly anticipated return of Fedor Emelianenko was expected to be a glorified sparring session – one that would have fight fans salivating for the greatest MMA fighter who has never fought in the UFC to finally appear in the Octagon.

    It was anything but.

    The legendary Russian fighter barely survived a savage first-round assault by Fabio Maldonado to win a controversial decision in the main event of EFN 50 in St. Petersburg, Russia. It aired live on UFC Fight Pass.

    Emelianenko, who is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight of all-time and once went unbeaten for 10 years, appeared to be on the verge of signing a UFC contract after negotiating with the most prominent MMA organization for several years. All that he had to do was get past Maldonado, a durable fighter but not one who was considered a threat to a fighter the caliber of Emelianenko.

    The 39-year-old opened the fight with an overwhelming onslaught of punches in an attempt to take out Maldonado before he knew what happened. But Maldanado remained composed and caught an overanxious Russian charging in with a thunderous right hand and followed with a left hook, which put Emelianenko down. The Brazilian quickly dove in with heavy shots looking for the finish, and in most cases may have earned the stoppage,

    For the next several minutes Maldonado clubbed "The Last Emperor" with a bevy of power shots that had the former king of Pride FC champion out on his feet. One could argue that the fight could have been stopped at anytime during the furious pounding that Maldonado delivered, but to his credit, Emelianenko remained upright and refused to give up.

    It was a bizarre, one-sided display of action that showed the tremendous heart of Emelianenko but also some partiality from the Russian official.

    Nevertheless, Emelianenko survived the first-round blitzkrieg and sought to capitalize on a drained Maldonado, who had certainly punched himself out in the opening stanza.

    Fedor would have a much better second frame where he measured and landed powerful punches and trademark knees that were reminiscent of his glory days. But this was clearly not the same fighter who owned victories over the most dangerous heavyweights in the history of the sport.

    The same cycle happened in the third round but Maldonado would occasionally crack Fedor with a hard counter shot. In one particular sequence, Fedor seemed to have the Brazilian hurt but a counterpunch from Maldonado briefly stunned the Russian and paused his attack.

    The fight unexpectedly went the distance and it was widely assumed it would be a draw, with Maldonado earning a 10-8 first round and Emelianenko evening things with a pair of 10-9 rounds. However, the judges gave Emelianenko a majority decision, much to the shock and chagrin of those watching.

    Whether his performance will earn him a UFC contract is yet to be seen but it’s certainly not the dominant performance that many observers anticipated from the great Sambo fighter out of Russia. He has now won his fifth straight fight after being stopped in three fights in a row. Maldonado has lost his last three fights.

  • One of the best lightweights in the world is coming to the UFC as Will Brooks will make his UFC debut against Ross Pearson at The Ultimate Fighter 23 finale on July 8 in Las Vegas.

    It’s an interesting turn of events after Bellator severed ties with their lightweight champion after Brooks (17-1) and president Scott Coker just couldn’t see eye to eye. Brooks was critical of his former employer on social media and Bellator responded by handing him his walking papers.

    But there’s a rainbow on the other side of those clouds for Brooks, as he’ll get to fulfill his dream of competing in the UFC.

    “This is an emotional rollercoaster,” Brooks told Yahoo Sports about the deal that came together in less than 24 hours. “I broke down and cried. There’s excitement, nervousness, fear, happiness – everything at once. It’s a beautiful thing to be in this position.”

    The signing comes at a time when Brooks had some significant happenings in his personal life. The 29-year-old recently became a father with the birth of his daughter and he was also in the midst of planning a wedding, which happens to be a week and a half after his UFC debut.

    “It’s so crazy,” Brooks said about trying to plan a wedding and be a father to a 3-month old while having the biggest moment in his MMA career right around the corner. “I am built for this kind of controlled chaos. I’ve been waiting for this moment. The timing means nothing. I’m always ready to go. This is just how it’s supposed to be.”

    Free agency has been a hot topic in mixed martial arts as of late. With the much-maligned deal with Reebok taking away sponsorship money from fighters, several UFC competitors have defected to Bellator including Matt Mitrione, Josh Thomson, Josh Koscheck and former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson. But, for Brooks, coming to the UFC was always tops on his list. Although he wouldn’t go into great detail about his new contract, he made it clear that the money didn’t matter.

    “It was never about the money,” Brooks said. “Of course everybody talks about money in the world of mixed martial arts because this is how we make a living. But this was about setting a goal for myself and attacking it. It was more of a point that I was trying to prove. It may have been a dumb point when it comes to my finances and my career but you have to take risks. I rolled the dice and bet on me because I have what it takes to rise above.”

    It’s a unique way to land in this position. Brooks has been nothing short of impressive during his Bellator run. He owns a pair of victories over Michael Chandler, who was considered the face of the promotion at one time after choking out current UFC title contender Eddie Alvarez. His second victory over Chandler earned him the vacant lightweight title and he defended it twice in dominant fashion. Last month it came as a surprise to many that Bellator parted ways with their current champion. But Brooks was very vocal about testing free agency and rejected a contract Bellator offered him. If he had to do it all again, Brooks may not take back everything he said, but he admits he would have handled things differently.

    “I think I did a poor job being professional,” Brooks said about his numerous outbursts on social media criticizing the handling of Bellator fighters. “I acted off of impulse. Twitter does that to you. It helps you react quickly and me being a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve. But I could have went about doing things differently.”

    Brooks is aware that the UFC doesn’t tolerate such things and says that he’s evolving as both a fighter and individual. But with everything behind him, Brooks will now focus on the rugged Pearson, who has alternated wins and losses in his past eight fights. Although Pearson isn’t ranked, Brooks isn’t looking at this as an easy debut.

    “You can’t underestimate a guy like Pearson,” Brooks said, who revealed that he’s already been training so he’ll be well prepared come July. “But I also won’t overestimate him. I still believe I’ll go out there and he’ll present the opportunity for me to put him down. What I came here for is a gold belt to add to my collection and I need to go out there and show the lightweight division that they have a problem on their hands.”

  • Dan Henderson has earned many accolades during his two-decade mixed martial arts career. However, the one thing that has proven to be elusive for the 45-year-old is capturing UFC gold. After holding off retirement with a remarkable come-from-behind knockout of Hector Lombard at UFC 199, Henderson has his eyes set on one last fight against the current UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping.

    In the aftermath of his knockout, which happened to be on the same card that Bisping captured the middleweight title from Luke Rockhold, there has been tremendous support from MMA fans to see a rematch of the UFC 100 showdown where Bisping was knocked out cold by Henderson in the second round.

    Although he’s currently ranked No. 13 among middleweights, the fight does carry a lot of intrigue and it’s something that Henderson would like to have the opportunity to do before riding off into the sunset.

    "[Fighting Bisping] is definitely something that I would do," Henderson said on the MMA Discussion podcast. "But it would definitely be my last fight for sure. Win or lose. I'm obviously confident that I would win, but win or lose I would make that my retirement fight."

    Many thought that Henderson’s knockout of Lombard would be the perfect way to end his illustrious MMA career that saw him become the first fighter in any major MMA promotion to hold world titles in two different weight classes. But capturing UFC gold against a foe who he once had a tepid rivalry with would certainly be the cherry on top.

    “I think [a fight with Bisping] makes the most sense,” Bisping continued. “Him winning that title has given me the [motivation] to want to fight him again. I didn't have any reason [before], I wouldn't be able to knock him out any better or more exciting than I did the first time. Now with him having the belt, that gives me a reason, and gives him reason as far as being able to get some redemption."

    Bisping has also expressed interest in facing Henderson again to get his revenge after being on the wrong side of one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history. Many of the middleweights who rank higher than Henderson scoffed at the prospect of being leapfrogged by a 45-year-old man who has gone 2-3 in his last five fights, but the rest of the MMA universe appears to support this potential showdown.

    Bisping has proposed that the fight happen in the United Kingdom, but Henderson has other plans for where he’d like his final fight to be.

    "If I got the opportunity to [fight Bisping] we could do it anywhere. Obviously closer to home would be better - even the first time in Madison Square Garden would be neat - but it doesn't matter to me."

  • Brock Lesnar boasted in an ESPN interview that he was “the modern-day Bo Jackson” after announcing his return to the UFC after spending the past four years as a professional wrestler.

    But the man he compared himself to isn't at all familiar with Lesnar.

    "I don't even know who Brock Lesnar is, man, Jackson said when approached by TMZ.

    The former NFL Pro Bowler and MLB All-Star was a superstar in the '80s and '90s when he was a dominant force in both sports. But when it comes to Lesnar, Jackson was clueless.

    "I don't watch [UFC and pro wrestling],” Jackson said. “If I didn't make money in it, I don't know nothing about it."

    But perhaps someone who knows the road Lesnar has traveled would be able to weigh in a bit better than Jackson.

    Ken Shamrock traversed the landscapes of mixed martial arts and pro wrestling before Lesnar and knows a thing or two about bouncing between the two worlds. And because of his experience, Shamrock believes that Lesnar will be at a disadvantage when he faces hard-hitting Mark Hunt at UFC 200.

    "I appreciate people making decisions and doing things they want to do but I think he's jumped back and forth too many times from wrestling to fighting, to wrestling to fighting,” Shamrock said in an interview on The MMA Talk Show in Florida. “I mean, this is his third time around I believe. I think it's going to hurt him, it's going to mess up his ... you've got to have consistency.”

    Shamrock famously departed from a successful career in MMA for the WWE (then-WWF) back in 1996 after becoming the first UFC superfight champion in 1995. He would spend three years as a professional wrestler before heading back to MMA with stints in both Pride FC and the UFC. However, the time away may have hurt Shamrock more than it helped as he started his career with a record of 23-5-2 before going to pro wrestling and has gone 5-12 afterward.

    "When you're a professional athlete, you have to do something for a period of time,” Shamrock said. “So if he continues to keep going - oh he did wrestling first and then he did MMA and then he goes back to wrestling and now he's back to MMA again - I don't think he's really stabilized himself or set an example for himself in MMA. I mean, he was there a short time, then he was gone. I mean, he's really done more in pro wrestling than he has done in anything else."

    Lesnar made his WWE debut in 2002 and made a significant impact as a pro wrestler before leaving the company in 2004 and spending time in New Japan Pro Wrestling until 2007. Lesnar then made his MMA debut in 2007 with one fight before heading to the UFC in 2008. After losing his first fight against Frank Mir, Lesnar would go on to win four straight fights while becoming UFC heavyweight champion along the way. However, diverticulitis kept him out of the Octagon and Lesnar lost his last two fights by knockout before departing in 2011. Lesnar has been a huge attraction since returning to the WWE in 2012, but he will again try his hand at MMA once again at UFC 200.

    Shamrock is skeptical that Lesnar has made any improvements since his time away from MMA. He’s primarily concerned about his striking, which he called “horrible,” especially against a known slugger like Hunt. Because of that, Shamrock believes that the biggest winners won’t be Hunt or Lesnar – rather, the UFC and WWE for the exposure.

    "I think [the UFC and the WWE] are both gonna get something out of it, I'm just not sure it's gonna be good for [Lesnar],” Shamrock said. “I hope it is. I really hope he wins because I'd hate to see him lose, even though I like Mark Hunt, but I'd hate to see him lose after having to come back and it doesn't work out for him. I think it's gonna hurt him more than it would Mark."

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