Junior dos Santos not only made news with his win over Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 146 / UFC on ESPN+ 4 but also with some comments that he made regarding who should have a shot at UFC Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
During a post event interview on ESPN last night, he mentioned Stipe Miocic deserved a shot but also addressed the heavily rumored opponent for Cormier: Brock Lesnar.
“I like to see Brock Lesnar fighting, but not for the title. He’s not even part of this sport right now. He cannot come back and fight for the title like this. I know ‘DC’ wants to make money, but man, it doesn’t make sense.”
He acknowledged that it would be a big money fight for Cormier to face the current WWE Superstar but came right out and said there were others more deserving of a title shot. He also mentioned himself and fellow heavyweight Francis Ngannou as two names in addition to Miocic that should be considered before a potentially returning Lesnar.
While there are more fighters more deserving of a title match against Cormier, in the end Dana White and the UFC are likely to focus on the huge numbers a Lesnar return against the champion would do for both the box office and pay-per-view numbers.
That potential draw was the main reason that Lesnar’s previous fight against Mark Hunt was high on the card and heavily promoted by the promotion. Whenever the UFC gets an opportunity to bring in additional viewers, they will almost give preferential treatment to a big name like Lesnar.
Drawing numbers is a reason names such as CM Punk and Greg Hardy have been seen on the main card rather than the preliminary matches. Punk’s losses to Mickey Gall and Mike Jackson were heavily promoted events despite being something more suitable for the the preshow or preliminary area of the event.
Hardy’s past NFL glory also earned him a spot on the main card at UFC Fight Night 143 and resulted in a loss to Allen Crowder. In fact it was the co-main event of the night.
The UFC is not the only MMA promotion to give special treatment to big names from the wrestling industry. Bellator debuted Jake Hager (the former Jack Swagger of WWE fame) in the co-main event at Bellator 214 on January 26, 2019, a dominant win over J.W. Kiser.
Fans of both the WWE and UFC will have to wait until after Wrestlemania weekend to see if Lesnar will be returning to the octagon. As soon as his status is known, the UFC will make clear whether a deserving heavyweight will earn a shot at Cormier’s title or the promotion will grant Cormier a big payday with a match against a returning contender.