When the news broke earlier this week that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar would coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside No. 1 contender Junior Dos Santos, I must admit I was caught completely off guard.
For one, Lesnar has money and fame. There is very little he stands to gain from the exposure offered by a reality show.
Also, up to this point, he has seemed rather uncomfortable revealing much of his life in front of the cameras. Two months worth of filming is sure to reveal more about this seasonal hermit than I would think he prefers.
Upon the show's conclusion, Lesnar and Dos Santos will meet in the octagon to determine which one will get the next shot at champion Cain Velasquez, who is currently recovering from shoulder surgery.
More than his participation in the TV show, Lesnar's choice of opponent had me surprised.
He could have chosen any heavyweight in the UFC for his comeback bout and it would have made money.
The guy is the biggest attraction in the UFC and after the high level of competition he has consistently faced in his time with the promotion, a brief step backwards would have been understandable, if not suggested.
Following two very damaging fights, including his embarrassing first-round title-losing TKO loss to Velasquez in his last outing, many were expecting Brock to run home with his tail between his legs to contemplate if he really wants to compete at this level of MMA—and maybe he did.
As stated, the guy already has money and fame, not to mention a family. He has already far exceeded any expectations the MMA community could have had when he left the professional wrestling world in his rear-view and signed with the UFC.
So, upon hearing that he had agreed to a fight with Junior Dos Santos—a fighter as young, damaging, and consistent as any you will find in the heavyweight division—I could come to no other conclusion than this is a fighter whose drive and desires in this sport are solely internal.
And to further that notion, the reward if he is to best Dos Santos—something he is not favored to do—is another meeting with the man who just thoroughly destroyed him, the champion Velasquez.
When he faces Dos Santos, Lesnar will have faced the most impressive murderers row of heavyweights any competitor could even imagine facing in the first seven fights of their career.
Couture, Mir, Carwin, Velasquez, Dos Santos...and this from a guy coming out of fake fighting. The professional wrestling world should be proud.
To judge a fighter, or better yet, a man, you must judge how he comes back from hardship; how he handles himself after falling to a humbling low.
Lesnar took the worst beating of his career at UFC 121, and he is already back to put himself in front of millions every week before facing the youngest and most dangerous opponent available in only his seventh fight.
Win or lose, Brock Lesnar's legacy is now secure.