Sunday, 5 June 2016

Brock Lesnar to return at UFC 200; opponent to be announced

Brock Lesnar is returning to the UFC Octagon.

UFC officials announced that the professional wrestling superstar and former UFC heavyweight champion will face an undisclosed opponent at UFC 200 on July 9. The news comes despite an announcement by Lesnar in March 2015 that he was "closing the door on MMA."

The WWE said Saturday night that Lesnar was "granted a one-off opportunity" to return to the UFC for the July fight and that he'd return for WWE's SummerSlam on Aug. 21.

Lesnar, who turns 39 next month, is a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion. He made a successful transition from professional wrestling to mixed martial arts in 2007. The UFC signed Lesnar despite a 1-0 professional record. He debuted against former champion Frank Mir and lost via submission.

Lesnar went on to win his next four bouts, including a November 2008 UFC title fight against Randy Couture. Lesnar avenged the Mir loss at a landmark UFC 100 event on July 11, 2009, in Las Vegas. After that bout, Lesnar was sidelined for a year due to an intestinal disorder, diverticulitis.

He went on to compete two more times, suffering knockout losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem, the latter in December 2011. Lesnar trained for a comeback last year and was in negotiations with the UFC on a new deal , but ultimately decided to re-sign with the WWE.

A welterweight rematch between UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregorand Nate Diaz will headline UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 20.

The UFC announced the bout on Saturday night. The 170-pound rematch was originally scheduled to headline UFC 200 on July 9, but the UFC pulled McGregor off the card in April when he refused to fly to Las Vegas to appear in a commercial shoot and news conference.

In mid-May, McGregor (19-3) met with UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in Los Angeles to discuss rebooking the fight at UFC 202. Days after that meeting, however, the bout hit another bump when Diaz, who submitted McGregor at UFC 196 in March, asked to renegotiate financial terms of the rematch.

McGregor, 27, is coming off the first loss of his UFC career. He still holds the 145-pound championship he won in December by knocking out Jose Aldo in a UFC title fight-record 13 seconds.

McGregor was scheduled to fight 155-pound lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in March, but dos Anjos withdrew with a foot injury. That opened the door for a nontitle welterweight fight against Diaz (19-10), who accepted on 11 days' notice.

Fighting out of Dublin, McGregor told he wants the rematch to take place at 170 pounds again so that nothing would be different from their first fight.

"What kind of fighter would I be if I said, 'Hey, I didn't get you at 170, let me try to get you at 155,'" McGregor said. "I'll make my adjustments. I ate up to the weight. This time, I won't do that."

Diaz is coming off back-to-back wins against McGregor and Michael Johnson. Fighting out of Stockton, California, Diaz is a UFC veteran since 2007. He fought for the lightweight championship in December 2012 but came up short in a five-round decision loss to Benson Henderson.

Diaz attended the UFC 199 card Saturday night in Inglewood, California. Earlier Saturday in an Instagram post, he indicated that a rematch with Diaz had been agreed to again, showing a video with Dana White.

Before it was announced that Nate Diaz and UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor would have their rematch, Diaz posted a video to Instagram of him slapping UFC president Dana White with a caption that read, in part: "Getting deals done today."

It appeared to be all in good fun, given the fact that Diaz accompanied White to UFC 199 on Saturday night.

And maybe the slap worked, because later in the night, it was announced that Diaz would get a chance to defeat McGregor again when they square off on August 20 at UFC 202 in Las Vegas.

The rematch was originally scheduled to headline UFC 200 on July 9, but UFC pulled McGregor from the card when he refused to fly to Las Vegas to appear in a commercial shoot and news conference.

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