Whatever you think of Brock Lesnar – whether you know him best as a WWE wrestler or an MMA cage fighter – he is a big box office attraction.
The Beast Incarnate is the only combat athlete in history to have held the NCAA, WWE and UFC heavyweight titles.
He has main evented UFC pay-per-views and WrestleMania, and is set to return to the octagon in 2019.
Lesnar starts the new year as WWE’s reigning Universal champ and will defend that belt at the Royal Rumble against Braun Strowman.
On a rare TV appearance, wrestling advocate Paul Heyman outlined his client’s ambitions to hold wrestling and MMA world titles concurrently.
While Lesnar must wait until his doping ban expires before he can compete in the UFC again, the groundwork has already been laid for a heavyweight clash with Daniel Cormier.
At UFC 226 back in July, Lesnar stormed into the cage to confront new heavyweight champ Cormier, who had just dethroned Stipe Miocic.
Oddsmakers have already priced up a future fight between the two, with Cormier a hot betting favorite.
Meanwhile, Lesnar, whose MMA career record stands at five wins, three defeats and one no contest (due to a failed drugs test), is a 9/4 underdog with British sportsbooks.
These odds reflect the greater octagon experience of Cormier and Lesnar being north of 40, while you can choose from top free bets UK providers when betting on their highly touted potential bout.
Although the market suggests Lesnar has it all to do against two-weight champ Cormier, underestimating him would be a mistake.
He defeated Randy Couture in just his fourth MMA fight to win the UFC heavyweight belt in 2008 and, although subsequently losing it to Cain Velasquez two years later, The Beast works a light schedule.
Cormier also has an amateur collegiate wrestling background, but rather than follow in Lesnar’s footsteps and go pro, he transitioned straight into cage fighting following the Beijing Olympics of 2008.
These amateur grapplers turned MMA heavyweights have both been on top of the mountain. Cormier coming to blows with Lesnar looks like being one of the most hotly anticipated fights in 2019.
Following on from a year when UFC has made very mixed headlines for the post-fight brawl between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor’s representatives, an absorbing clash that remains in the cage could help to mend some fences.
Since winning the UFC heavyweight championship, Cormier has already made one successful defense of the belt when submitting Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 back in November.
His MMA record is 22-1 and one no contest, the latter coming when longtime rival Jon Jones failed a drugs test after winning their second fight back at UFC 214.
With Lesnar one of the top combat sports pay-per-view draws, a fascinating encounter between two fighters who share the same beginnings on the NCAA mat looks like being big bucks at the box office.