For much of the first half of 2019, there was a lot of talk and speculation about whether Lesnar would return to the UFC. Then, as UFC 226 neared in July, there were reports that Lesnar was indeed planning to fight again and that the UFC was considering giving him a title shot. All that was confirmed at Daniel Cormier knocked Stipe Miocic at the event, and Lesnar was on hand to confront “DC”.
Well, since Lesnar has no official wins on his record since 2010, and because he tested positive for a banned substance in 2016, the decision was widely scrutinized. Couture was a guest on a recent episode of “Submission Radio“, and during it “The Natural” was asked to comment on the UFC handing Lesnar a title shot. Here is some of what the former light-heavyweight and heavyweight champ had to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“Well, you know, they want to tout their USADA and all their strict rules for drug testing, but somehow this guy managed to get through and still managed to fail a test but still compete,” Couture said. “Which begs the question, what’s going on?
“Obviously, the rankings and all of that stuff, they manipulate that however they want anyway. Whatever makes business sense to them is all that really matters. They don’t care about the fighters. They don’t care about those rankings.
“You know, lots of guys have jumped queue. It’s certainly not based on merit. So, that’s nothing new. I’m not surprised.” he continued. “He’s a huge draw. I mean, at the end of the day that’s the business of it. It’s about selling pay-per-views. Certainly, DC is the champ and rightly so, they’re gonna put him in there with a guy like DC and that’s gonna draw huge pay-per-view numbers. So, that’s what it boils down to for them.”
Even if you are excited to see how Lesnar does against Cormier, you have to admit that there’s no meritocratic justification for the fight. Further, if you’re a heavyweight who has been facing top-tier competitors, and scoring pivotal wins, the fact Cormier – Lesnar will sell a lot of pay-per-views probably doesn’t make it okay.
As this is being written, there’s no word yet as to when Cormier – Lesnar will happen. More recently there’s been speculation that Lesnar may not, in fact, return to the UFC prior to Cormier’s retirement, on account of his new WWE deal.