Brock Lesnar is being characteristically secretive about his preparation heading into his return to the Octagon at UFC 200 on Saturday, July 9th, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view).
Because of that, Lesnar’s (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) already-fascinating bout with Mark Hunt (12-10-1, 7-4-1) has become all the more intriguing.
Lesnar, who spends the majority of his personal time isolated from society with his wife and children on a farm somewhere in Saskatchewan, Canada, made his first UFC 200 fight week appearance at Wednesday’s pre-fight news conference.
When asked how many rounds of sparring he did in preparation for the Heavyweight co-main event collision with Hunt at UFC 200, Lesnar’s answer was sarcastic and hardly realistic.
“3,000,” Lesnar said, jokingly, to the cheers of fans. “3,000 [rounds].”
Although Lesnar hasn’t stepped in the Octagon since a first-round TKO loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in December 2011, the former UFC Heavyweight titleholder admitted that he never really left MMA training and would learn and build on his skills when possible around his career as a WWE superstar.
Things got weirder on Thursday, however, when Lesnar was scheduled for a public open workout. Such events typically feature fighters hitting pads or showcasing their grappling ability. It also gives fans a look at the physique of the athletes to see how they look heading in to fight night. Hunt did his workout for around 15 minutes, but when Lesnar’s slot arrived, he came out to the stage wearing black track pants and a blue sweatshirt with no training partners or coaches in sight.
Instead of working out, Lesnar called an audible and decided to spend less than 10 minutes answering media questions about his return to fighting and the significance of participating on the UFC 200 fight card after he headlined UFC 100 against Frank Mir in July 2009.
“I’m just thankful to be here,” Lesnar said. “I was on UFC 100; it’s a special honor to be here for UFC 200. It’s a milestone for the company; it’s a milestone for me. I’m healthy, I feel good so that’s where I’m at.”
On Friday morning, Lesnar was due at the UFC 200 weigh-ins inside a ballroom at Monte Carlo hotel. At around 8:40 a.m. PT, Lesnar walked out to the scale with black, UFC-branded shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt. He registered at half-a-pound under the Heavyweight limit, officially weighing in at a hulking 265.5 pounds.
Lesnar spent about 15 seconds on the scale, refusing to take part in the standard tradition of flexing for photographers. When asked by a UFC official if he would come back to the stage and pose for a photo-op, Lesnar completely ignored the request and retreated to the backstage area.
With no ability to gauge Lesnar’s level of physical fitness and technique as UFC 200 approaches, there’s no telling what to expect when he steps in the cage to compete for the first time in more than four years.
It is known without question that, when Lesnar previously fought in the UFC, he was plagued with a serious case of diverticulitis He promises to be 100 percent healthy going into UFC 200, though, and because of that, he said he would be happy with his performance – win or lose.
“I’m a big believer that life’s all about timing,” Lesnar said. “Things happen for a reason and I don’t know, things in my life weren’t the way they needed to be at the time. I woke up one day, many days, and thought about getting back in the Octagon. It just felt right. It feels right in [my heart], in [my head], and I’m going to leave it all out there.
“I’m in a really good place and Saturday night, Mark Hunt’s excited I’m sure and I’m excited,” he continued. “I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m sure he’s not going to and we’ll see whose left the last man standing.”