With five years having elapsed since his last UFC bout, Brock Lesnar will be stepping foot in the octagon once again next month when he takes on Mark Hunt at the UFC 200 pay-per-view.
The July 9 fight will generate a lot of interest due to the surprise factor behind the part-time WWE Superstar's involvement. Hunt's recent trash-talking will also help sell tickets.
However, according to one of the last men Lesnar defeated in the Mixed Martial Arts promotion, Frank Mir, the interest will pale into insignificance compared to what it could have been had he been announced as The Beast Incarnate's opponent:
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"I think he's a competitive guy and if he's going to step into the Octagon, he's going to want to get paid as much as he can for that appearance," Mir told the Phone Booth Fighting podcast when asked if Lesnar would have preferred a bout against him.
"I mean he's closing in on 40. So why not a fight with me? A fight with me is going to be a much bigger payday, the two of us together, is going to make a much more impact than him versus anybody else.
"The storyline is just not going to be the same. The interest is not going to be the same."
Putting on a rematch of the UFC 100 fight between Lesnar and Mir at the UFC 200 PPV would have had a nice ring to it, especially with Mir having beaten Lesnar back at UFC 81. However, there is just one problem.
Mir is currently awaiting his punishment after a positive drugs test in the aftermath of his last fight - a KO defeat at the hands of none other than Mark Hunt - and the typical suspension is two years.
With the suspension hanging over his head, putting on a Lesnar vs Mir rematch was always going to be unlikely even if it had been the UFC's plan A.
Nevertheless, even if a 24-month ban heads his way, Mir believes he could still have a Lesnar fight in his future:
"I think that even two years from now when I come back out of the suspension, a fight with Lesnar, if he still wants to come back again, it's still a huge fight.
"It's massive because of what brings to the table, what I bring to the table and the history that we've had together."
It remains to be seen whether Lesnar even wants to be involved in the UFC beyond next month, nevermind in two years time.
If he is keen to prolong his MMA comeback into 2018, however, at least he knows he will have an opponent ready and waiting.
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