According to Lesnar’s longtime friend and on-screen advocate Paul Heyman, Lesnar was gearing up for the fight against “The Last Emperor” and was beginning to train for the bout with a clean bill of health.
Over the past few years, UFC commissioner Dana White has periodically given media members small windows into the failed negotiations to bring Fedor to the UFC to face Lesnar.
When I was talking about doing that big Dallas Texas stadium show it was going to be Brock Lesnar versus Fedor. Remember when I met with him and I said it didn't get well? It actually did go well. It went well and then Fedor's dad died, he wanted to fight Fedor.
On Monday’s MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Heyman reiterated why the bout was essentially scrapped after the wheels were in motion for the two heavyweights to collide, saying: “Fedor’s father passed away and Fedor lost all desire and motivation to fight.”
Heyman said it was the one fight at the time that Lesnar was willing to get back in the cage for, and that the former UFC heavyweight champion was “ready, willing, able and already starting pre-training camp.”
Heyman also elaborated on Lesnar’s condition going into the bout with Overeem, saying:
He had a clean bill of health, finally. Brock was not ready for the Overeem fight, and I think that’s fairly obvious. A liver kick, well placed, will drop any human being on the face of this planet. A liver kick from Alistair Overeem, at that size and weight—no matter how he achieved it—is going to drop any human being. ... Brock was unhealthy walking into that fight with Alistair Overeem.
As the old adage goes, hindsight is 20/20, and Heyman acknowledged that Lesnar wasn’t in tune with how his diverticulitis was impacting his MMA career, saying:
I don’t think that Brock has ever truly understood nor accepted until he got past it—the severity of the illness that took him down. ... Brock, once he got past the Overeem fight, had all these treatments, switched treatments and doctors and finally got a clean bill of health.
It wouldn’t be a rotation around the sun for the MMA world without discussion of if and when Lesnar will fight again inside the Octagon. He currently is working a part-time schedule with WWE, with his appearances revolving around the handful of biggest shows of the year for the company. Heyman didn't think the door was completely closed for a potential return to fighting for Lesnar, coyly saying:
If a change of circumstance happens, and it’s a no-brainer to get Brock back into the cage, I’m sure it’s something he would consider. At this moment, it’s not a topic of conversation because things are going so well in WWE.
We've known for quite some time that the fight was sought after by Dana White and the UFC. And we learned last year that Fedor's retirement was the main driver for us not getting to see it happen.
But Heyman's comments on The MMA Hour illustrate a Lesnar who was free of diverticulitis and was getting ready for what could have been the biggest drawing fight ever.
The new information lends itself to the idea that Lesnar still does have the drive to compete and will someday want to satisfy that urge to test his mettle in the UFC.