It appears former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar‘s potential return to the UFC has gone from a “you never know” to a simple “no.”
Just a few weeks ago, UFC President Dana White said the WWE star’s return to the UFC was “definitely a possibility.” These days, though? Not so much.
The topic that never dies got a new life at Saturday’s UFC 169 event, where main-card winner Alistair Overeem called out Lesnar. After a three-round beatdown of Frank Mir (16-9 MMA, 14-9 UFC) in a featured bout (watch the Overeem vs. Mir highlights), Overeem (37-13 MMA, 2-2 UFC) directed his post-fight interview at Lesnar, whom he beat via TKO in late 2011 at UFC 141.
Overeem apparently had heard White’s recent comments about Lesnar’s potential return, and he campaigned for the rematch.
“I heard word that Brock Lesnar is coming back to the UFC,” Overeem said after Saturday’s victory, which aired on pay-per-view from Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Center. “Well, I’ll be here waiting for him.”
However, in the post-fight news conference, White dismissed the possibility of both the fight and a potential Lesnar return.
“Brock Lesnar is not coming back,” he said. “Brock Lesnar is not fighting. I mean, does he want to come back? We’ve talked about him wanting to come back, and he feels like he wasn’t 100 percent while he was here. He feels like he sold himself a little short and all the stuff I’ve told you before.
“But no, he’s not. We have not deal with Brock Lesnar. He’s not coming back anytime soon.”
After battling a life-threatening bout of diverticulitis, Lesnar, who held the UFC title from 2008 to 2010, returned from a lengthy layoff to fight Overeem in late 2011. But after the defeat, which followed a title loss to Cain Velasquez 14 months prior, Lesnar announced his retirement and ultimately returned to the pro-wrestling circuit with the WWE.
Although the 36-year-old’s best days may be behind him, Lesnar was one of the UFC’s biggest PPV draws during his impressive run and reportedly helped the organization crack the million-buyrate threshold on four occasions in just seven UFC fights.
However, with Lesnar apparently out of the mix and Overeem halting a two-fight skid, what’s next for the hard-hitting Dutchman?
“Every fight in the UFC is interesting to me,” he said. “On that note, for now, it’s holiday time. Then we’re going to sit together with the team, and then we’re going to figure out the next steps.”