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Brock Lesnar 'didn't want it to be really over' when he retired from the UFC

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Brock Lesnar never wanted to leave the UFC in the first place. But his health would not let him continue back in 2011.

The former UFC champion and WWE superstar said he came back to the Octagon too soon after surgery to ease his diverticulitis. Lesnar had 12 inches of his colon removed and was fighting just six months later. After falling to Alistair Overeem by first-round knockout in 2011, Lesnar called it quits.

Until now. The UFC announced Saturday night that Lesnar is back -- he'll be fighting at UFC 200. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani was the first to break the news Saturday evening. On Monday, it was announced on ESPN that Mark Hunt would be Lesnar's opponent July 9 in Las Vegas.

Why is Lesnar coming back now? He explained on SportsCenter.

"The haunting fact that I didn't really want it to be over," Lesnar said. "So here we are. I'm taking a leap and gonna get back in so that 20 years from now I can say I did it, [instead of saying], 'What if I would have just did it?' To get in there and prove to myself, more importantly, that I can. That's why."

Lesnar's MMA career was short-lived. But boy did he make a lot of noise during those four years. Lesnar won the UFC heavyweight title from Randy Couture in 2008 and defended the belt against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. No UFC heavyweight champion has ever made more than two title defenses. Lesnar is in a category with Cain Velasquez (the man who took the belt from him), Couture and Tim Sylvia as the only men to defend that title more than once.

Lesnar, now 38, also became the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC history, bringing in an audience that enjoyed watching him in WWE. He returned to WWE after his UFC retirement and quickly became a massive star in sports entertainment once again.

WWE said in a statement over the weekend that Lesnar fighting at UFC 200 is a one-off event and he'll be returning for their SummerSlam show in August. Lesnar said WWE had no issues with him fighting in the UFC again.

"None," Lesnar said. "Why would you? I believe that in the WWE brand, I'm a legit athlete in that brand and I bring a lot to the company. For me to get back in the Octagon legitimizes why the WWE has me in their company. It's a win-win for all of us. It's win for me, it's a win for the WWE and it's a win for the UFC."

Lesnar, of course, is not just motivated by the competition. There is also a boatload of money involved, though he would not say how much.

"It's just lots of money," Lesnar said. "I'm a prizefighter. Unlike some other fighters that all they ever want is to be the champion, I've been the champion, I've climbed that ladder, I've climbed that mountain, I got to the top of that mountain. At this stage of my career and back then, you don't get into the cage for nothing. It's a lot of money. I'm not gonna relay how much money I'm making on it. I wouldn't do that to either one of the companies."

Lesnar said he'll be fighting out of his current home of Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada, though he did not shed much light on what or where his training camp will be. Lesnar has not competed in five years and though he'll be the younger man -- Hunt is 42 -- Hunt is still one of the top heavyweights in the world, coming off a knockout of longtime Lesnar rival Mir.

"I don't really have any concerns," Lesnar said. "Hopefully we get the rust out in training camp and I think we are. We will. And if not, the first punch from Mark will knock the rest of the rust off in the first 10 seconds maybe. And then look out."