Here comes the pain. Again?
The UFC is in serious talks with former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar to have him fight at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas, multiple sources confirmed with MMA Fighting.
Both sides are close to finalizing a deal, and if all goes well, Lesnar's return to mixed martial arts could be announced imminently.
(Update: The UFC officially announced Lesnar's return during the UFC 199 pay-per-view. His opponent is to be determined.)
While talks are progressing well between Lesnar and the UFC, an opponent for Lesnar isn't close to being finalized. It is unclear at this time who is under consideration.
The 38-year-old Lesnar hasn't competed in MMA since his Dec. 2011 loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. Lesnar's career was cut short due to his struggles with diverticulitis, and after leaving MMA, he returned to World Wrestling Entertainment, where he's been performing for the last four years.
Since leaving the UFC, both sides have often flirted with the idea of a reunion.
UFC president Dana White said in 2012 that they were close to booking Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko at Cowboys Stadium, but that deal ultimately fell through after Emelianenko's father passed away, according to White. And the UFC tried to re-sign Lesnar last year as his WWE contract was expiring, but Lesnar chose to return to WWE instead.
In October, Lesnar said on the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's podcast that he was very serious about coming back to the UFC.
"It wasn't a bluff," Lesnar told Austin. "I felt robbed by diverticulitis. I felt robbed by being sick. I was feeling good and it took me a couple years to start feeling good. I'm at home, I'm working out, my life is great, everything's in tune, my contract's coming to an end with WWE, hey it's been a great time but something's missing.
"I was up front and totally honest with the company and told them I'm really thinking of pursuing getting back in the Octagon."
Lesnar, considered one of the greatest draws in MMA history, left the UFC with a 5-3 professional record. He won the UFC heavyweight title in Nov. 2008 when he defeated Randy Couture via second-round TKO. Though, many would argue his crowning achievement was his performance as a headliner at UFC 100 in July 2009. On that night in Las Vegas, Lesnar avenged his loss to Frank Mir in what still stands as the best-selling pay-per-view in MMA history.
If this new deal can get done, there's a great chance UFC 200, featuring the return of Lesnar, would break that seven-year-old record.