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Brock Lesner could be making a return to the Ultimate Fighting Championships in the near future. The timing couldn't be better for the organization. Because of Anderson Silva's unfortunate leg break and uncertain future in the sport and George St. Pierre relinquishing his welterweight belt to go on an indefinite hiatus, the UFC is down to 3 superstars.
Champions Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey and Cain Velasquez can headline cards, fill arena seats and get fans to buy their PPV events, but they need breaks in between bouts to heal up before going back into training for their next fight. That usually takes several months. 2 or at the maximum 3 fights is the most you can expect out of any champion in one year.
Jon "Bones" Jones
In 2013 the UFC held 12 PPV events. 21 others were aired on other cable channels or on Fox, for a total of 33 events.
UFC president Lorenzo Fertitta says that number will increase to 40+ in 2014,according to Bleacher Report
Don't get me wrong, the UFC is stacked with talent from top to bottom. So they will be fine for their non PPV matches. But superstars like Lesner pack arenas make fans want to plop down $54.95 to watch at home.
The UFC usually averages 400,000 buys for PPV events. UFC 168 in December more than doubled that with an estimated 1,025,000 buys. Those numbers can be attributed to the rematches between Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate.
Lesner was one of the biggest PPV draws during his first stint in the UFC. He won the heavyweight belt in just his fourth professional mixed martial arts fight when he beat Randy Couture at UFC 91. He eventually lost the belt to Velasquez and left the sport, going back to the WWE after losing to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141.
However, Lesner wasn't healthy. He had been battling diverticulitis, a very painful stomach ailment. He had two surgeries for it. A 12-inch piece of his colon was removed. His December 30, 2011 fight against Overeem was just six months after the second surgery.
UFC President Dana White says Lesner regrets leaving the sport because of his illness. L.A. Times writer Lance Pugmire reported earlier this month that the two were negotiating Lesner's return.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) January 6, 2014
White says it's a "definite possibility" that Lesner will be back in the Octagon, per MMAFighting.
"Me and Brock talk. I said recently Brock feels like ... he said he has some regrets with MMA because he wasn't healthy. He was going through those stomach problems the whole time he was here. So he has regrets. It's interesting. He became champion with diverticulitis. What would he have done without it? From the first day he fought in the UFC until his last fight he was suffering from it. He never felt right. He just didn't know why and then it really hit him. He feels like he was fighting here at 40 percent. He thinks a Brock Lesnar that was 100 percent could have done much better. I told him, 'you're out of your f*cking mind. You came in here with one fight and became the heavyweight champion.' It was fun having Brock here. So he has some regrets. Would he like to fight again? I'm sure he would. We'll see how this whole thing plays out. It's definitely a possibility."
Dana White talks Brock Lesner's possible return to the UFC at the 7:58 mark.