It has been a little under 8 hours since former UFC heavyweight champion, Frank Mir weathered a furious Brock Lesnar onslaught and pulled out a submission victory and yet many MMA fans have already refocused their minds on to what is next for the former WWE superstar.
There is no doubt that Lesnar helps to get fans through the gate and buying PPVs. The UFC knows this and I doubt they would want to risk Lesnar losing any luster as a draw card by giving him anymore Frank Mir-esque match-ups in the near future.
In defeat, Lesnar showed a lot of power, a lot of promise and a lot of things he needs to work on. The main focal point in terms of areas he needs to work on are obviously his submission defense and his positioning. It will take time and more experience inside the octagon to hone the necessary skills needed to avoid a defeat like the one he suffered yesterday. Thus, I would expect the UFC to be matching Lesnar up against opponents that are less experienced and won’t expose his weaknesses on the ground.
Many people are starting to think that Tim Sylvia versus Brock Lesnar is the next logical match-up. I think that would be way too much too soon for Lesnar. You can talk about how Lesnar is guaranteed at least $250,000 every time he fights and thus he should be fighting top quality opposition all the time but the fact remains he has two fights to Sylvia’s 30+ fights and the reason he is getting paid so much isn’t that he is one of the world’s best fighters but that his name recognition is selling PPVs and bringing in new fans.
I believe that his fight against Mir proved to the world that Lesnar is serious about Mixed Martial Arts and that he is willing to fight top competition. The fact that this match-up was made should now give the UFC the right to build Lesnar up with lesser opponents so that they can give him the experience so he eventually match it with the likes of Mir, Sylvia, Arlovski, Nogueira etc.
Lesnar’s next UFC appearance is all but sealed with Dana White saying in a recent article for The Sun, that it will be in a event set to take place in London on June 14th. White also stated that he could possibly headline the card.
Whether or not that will still be the case now that he has lost his UFC debut remains to be seen but in terms of a potential opponent you would think it would be someone who can showcase Lesnar’s strengths. Those strengths of course being his wrestling and his power.
Thus I’m expecting Lesnar’s next opponent to either be a striker with little to no takedown defense, e.g. Antoni Hardonk or a one dimensional wrestler who Lesnar can overpower with either strikes or his superior wrestling, think Carmelo Marrero.
Some may argue those are the type of opponents he should have been matched up with in the first place but as I stated above I think the Mir fight was needed to show the average MMA fan what Lesnar can and can’t do and what he can improve upon.
Despite his loss, you can see from the attention that his arrival brought and the reaction to his fight with Mir that Brock Lesnar is bringing back some life and excitement to the heavyweight division. A division which was in desperate need of it.