Former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar has re-signed with the sports entertainment monolith, the WWE announced Monday. The news came less than a day after Lesnar retained his title in a much-maligned headlining bout against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania.
Terms of the deal were not announced, but Lesnar’s next match was. He’ll return to the ring at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia April 27. There, he’ll face familiar foe Reigns in a steel cage match in what promises to be, at least logistically, one of the biggest events in the promotion’s long history.
The move likely postpones Lesnar’s oft-discussed return to mixed martial arts. UFC president Dana White stoked talk of the massive wrestler trading his boots for four-ounce gloves after his previous WWE contract had expired, even telling reporters odds of Lesnar’s return to the Octagon were “very, very good.”
While the 40-year-old has signed back on with the promotion that first thrust him into the spotlight, there’s no guarantee he couldn’t pull double duty. In fact, Dave Meltzer of SB Nation’s MMA Fighting reports that Lesnar’s deal with WWE allows him to participate in “at least one” UFC bout, but it’s unclear if that deal allows for multiple fights.
With White suggesting before Wrestlemania that Lesnar could have a shot at the winner of the July 7 bout between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, there are a few things to consider. First, it’s extremely unlikely that Lesnar could beat either fighter for the promotion’s heavyweight belt, but if he did and didn’t have something in his contract allowing for multiple fights, the UFC would be in a sticky situation.
Second, though Lesnar helped salvage the UFC 200 card with a last-minute showdown against heavyweight mainstay Mark Hunt while under WWE contract in 2016, he also tested positive for a banned substance after the fight. His win became a “no contest” and he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Lesnar would need six months of clean tests in the USADA drug testing pol before he could compete again.
Either way, Lesnar’s presence is a boost for the WWE, who has pushed the former collegiate All-American wrestler as one of its toughest attractions. Lesnar has held the Universal title, one of two world championship belts, since Wrestlemania 33 and has been one of the WWE’s most notable headliners despite his part time status at the company’s shows.
Retaining Lesnar also means the WWE will keep two high profile UFC champions on its roster. Former women’s bantamweight titlist Ronda Rousey made her in-ring debut Sunday evening, teaming with Kurt Angle to defeat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.