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Dana White: UFC was ‘not very close at all’ to re-signing Brock Lesnar

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar closed the book for good on his mixed martial arts career last month, announcing that an eleventh-hour offer from WWE owner Vince McMahon was enough to convince him to re-sign with the industry leader.

The news shot down any hopes the UFC had at reclaiming the pay-per-view giant, and though Lesnar appeared conflicted in the lead-up to his decision, UFC President Dana White says the UFC was never actually that close to landing Lesnar.

"Not very close at all," White told radio host Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan on Thursday. "We'd known that Brock was probably going to take a pass and go back to wrestling, which was the right move. You know, Brock came in here, he did incredible things and he got a great deal from Vince (McMahon). He's 38 years old, man. It makes all the sense in the world."

Lesnar propelled the UFC to new heights when he joined the organization in early 2008, achieving unparalleled pay-per-view success and capturing the UFC's heavyweight title with a dominant victory over Randy Couture in just his third Octagon appearance.

The one-time NCAA champion defended his UFC title twice against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin -- a mark still tied for the best in UFC heavyweight history -- before suffering a dramatic falloff due to diverticulitis and exiting the UFC on a two-fight losing streak in late 2011.

Once healthy, however, Lesnar found immediate success back in the WWE, eventually becoming the promotion's World Heavyweight Champion. That contract was due to run out last month, and Lesnar, who turns 38 in July, was conflicted enough to resume MMA training for two-and-a-half months, though he ultimately decided that his heart laid in professional wrestling.

"It was a very hard decision to make," Lesnar said on ESPN.

"I talked to Dana, I talked to Lorenzo (Fertitta), Vince, my wife, my friends. I had many sleepless nights. And at the end of the day, I was born to be an entertainer and I have fun doing it."