Before Brock Lesnar intermingled the worlds of the WWE and the UFC, there was Ken Shamrock.
The UFC Hall of Famer began his career as a pro wrestler, training in smaller promotions before travelling to Japan where he began competing for Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi which eventually led to legitimate fights, the creation of Pancrase, and his legendary MMA career. With Brock Lesnar's upcoming return to the octagon after a four and a half year hiatus to the WWE, Shamrock - in an interview with Marc Charles from The MMA Talk Show on Money Talk 1010 AM in Tampa, Florida - was asked his opinion on Lesnar's return to competitive mixed martial arts and how his WWE stint may affect his return. (Interview transcribed by Marc Charles.)
"I appreciate people making decisions and doing things they want to do but I think he's jumped back and forth too many times from wrestling to fighting, to wrestling to fighting. I mean this is his third time around I believe. I think it's going to hurt him, it's going to mess up his... you've got to have consistency.
"When you're a professional athlete, you have to do something for a period of time. So if he continues to keep going - oh he did wrestling first and then he did MMA and then he goes back to wrestling and now he's back to MMA again - I don't think he's really stabilized himself or set an example for himself in MMA. I mean he was there a short time, then he was gone. I mean he's really done more in pro wrestling than he has done in anything else."
Shamrock knows a thing or two about jumping between the two sports. He won the first ever UFC Superfight championship in 1995 at UFC 6, submitting Dan Severn with a guillotine choke (after fighting to a draw with Royce Gracie at UFC 5 for what was intended to be the inaugural championship). Shamrock defended his championship twice before losing it in a rematch to Severn in 1996. Shortly after that, Shamrock made the jump to the WWE (then known as the WWF) where he became an Intercontinental champion, and a tag team champion. After a three-year stint with the WWE, he returned to MMA in 2000 to compete for Pride FC and the UFC, even challenging Tito Ortiz for the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2002 but never reaching the heights of his first MMA run.
As for how Lesnar will perform re-entering the UFC after his such a long break, Shamrock is skeptical of the return.
"Well he should have put a little more work into his ground game with his submissions, defensive submissions, and definitely his striking. His striking is horrible. So I think he needed to pay a little bit more attention if he's gonna come back. He needs to take some time and really focus on that and not just jump back into it because he's a great wrestler because that's just not going to get it for him in these days."
Shamrock also knows a bit about the difficulty of returning to an MMA game that has passed you by. Shamrock's excursion to the WWE was only for three years, but in that time the landscape of MMA changed dramatically and his limited game could no longer compete. Before his departure Shamrock amassed a record of 23-5-2; Shamrock's record upon his return is 5-12.
Lesnar has been gone for almost five years but the heavyweight division remains remarkably similar to where it was when Lesnar retired. At the time, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos were the top four heavyweights with Lesnar rounding out the top five. Now those same four remain in the top five and Lesnar has been replaced by current champion Stipe Miocic.
Despite their similar career trajectories, Shamrock doesn't see many similarities between himself and Lesnar. He believes that he is an MMA "purist" whereas Lesnar is merely "a guy that's big, strong, and wrestles very well." Perhaps those differences mean Lesnar will fair better in his return than Shamrock but Shamrock doesn't appear too keen on Lesnar's chances.
"I think [the UFC and the WWE] are both gonna get something out of it, I'm just not sure it's gonna be good for him. I hope it is. I really hope he wins because I'd hate to see him lose, even though I like Mark Hunt, but I'd hate to see him lose after having to come back and it doesn't work out for him. I think it's gonna hurt him more than it would Mark."
Brock Lesnar fights Mark Hunt in the co-main event of UFC 200 on July 9th in Las Vegas, Nev.
You can listen to the rest of the interview below where Shamrock calls the Brock-USADA exemption "very political," talks about his beef with Dan Severn, and the UFC 199 media situation.
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Luke just wants to teach you things and this week he has great help.
Kind sentiments from the champ.
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Here is that rallying cry from @thenotoriousMMA to Ireland ahead of the start of #euro2016. We are here to take overhttps://t.co/wvOs5K8O4s— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 13, 2016
Cheap Seats covering the upcoming weekend and our favorite future fight: Bisping vs Hendo.
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Fiiiiiiiight weeeeeek!!!! MacDonald vs Thompson and Cerrone vs Cote this Saturday LIVE and FREE on @FS1!!!pic.twitter.com/QthNYb7W1U— Dana White (@danawhite) June 13, 2016
Well rounded he is Joe.
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So apparently Miesha Tate was in some position of honor at a race this past weekend.
Was an absolute honor!! https://t.co/YYjVwccZHs— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) June 12, 2016
That has to feel incredibly cool.
Anderson kicking pads in a training mask.
Não é fácil já deu vontade de desistir, mas vale muito mais a pena continuar galera.As pessoas são irracionais, ilógicas e egocêntricas. Ame-as MESMO ASSIM. Se você tem sucesso em suas realizações, ganhará falsos amigos e verdadeiros inimigos. Tenha sucesso MESMO ASSIM. O bem que você faz será esquecido amanhã. Faça o bem MESMO ASSIM. A honestidade e a franqueza o tornam vulnerável. Seja honesto MESMO ASSIM. Aquilo que você levou anos para construir, pode ser destruído de um dia para o outro. Construa MESMO ASSIM. (Kent M. Keith)
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And he's British so that rec should probably come with extra credence. Plus Cub's logo is dope.
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I was not allowed to walk out with my Assyrian/American flag because of the new UFC policy which only allows countries currently recognized. Even though I was very disappointed with the new ruling, the UFC staff told me that they would review the Assyrian flag and let me know if I would be allowed to use it next time. I was grateful I was able to take this picture after my fight. #assyrian #american #ALLGLORYTOGOD
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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2014: Demetrious Johnson blanked Ali Bagautinov to defend his UFC flyweight championship in the main event of UFC 174. After the bout, Ali Bags tested positive for erythopoietin. The co-main event saw Rory MacDonald soundly defeat current welterweight challenger Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Until tomorrow M-Rmy, be easy.