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changed the math for the
Ultimate Fighting Championship

The hulking Webster, South Dakota, native used his superstardom in
World Wrestling Entertainment as a springboard into an extended run
as the biggest box-office draw in mixed martial arts, where he cut
down legends, captured the UFC heavyweight championship, broke
records on pay-per-view and banked millions in prize money. Though
Lesnar’s stay in MMA was brief—he fought just nine times—and was
interrupted by a life-threatening bout with diverticulitis, no one
can deny the sudden impact he made. Now 42, he returned to a
part-time gig with the WWE after his victory over Mark Hunt at
UFC 200 was overturned and changed to a no contest in light of a
positive test for clomiphene.

With all indications pointing to the reality that Lesnar has
competed in MMA for the last time, here are five things you might
not know about him:

1. A championship pedigree was established as an

Lesnar was a four-time collegiate All-American wrestler at Bismarck
State College and the University of Minnesota, where he won a
national championship in 2000
. He compiled a ridiculous 106-5
record between those two stops before turning his attention to more
lucrative ventures.

2. His collegiate exploits took him down a path to

The World Wrestling Federation—now World Wrestling
Entertainment—signed Lesnar in 2000 and assigned him to Ohio Valley
Wrestling, a feeder organization based in Louisville, Kentucky.
He made his
WWF debut on March 18, 2002
and went on to win the prestigious
King of the Ring tournament some three months later.

3. Few wrestlers in WWE history can match his

Over the course of his 18-year pro wrestling career, Lesnar has
established himself as one of the most successful and recognizable
WWE stars of all-time. He became at the time
the youngest WWE champion in history at SummerSlam on Aug. 25,
2002, when he defeated Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the age of
. Lesnar has enjoyed five separate reigns totaling 753 days
as WWE champion, good for sixth on the company’s all-time list
behind Bruno Sammartino (4,040), Hulk Hogan (2,185), Bob Backlund
(2,083), John Cena (1,387) and Pedro Morales (1,027).

4. He courted pro football.

Lesnar hit the pause button on his professional wrestling pursuits
to chase a potential career in the NFL, this despite not having
played organized football since high school. He signed with
Minnesota in July 2004 and appeared in a few preseason games for
the Vikings before being released
. Lesnar later turned down an
opportunity to play football in Europe.

5. His ascent through the MMA ranks was

Mixed martial
arts beckoned in 2007
, as Lesnar made his pro debut opposite
South Korean judoka Min Soo Kim
under the K-1 Hero’s flag and struck the Olympic silver medalist
into submission in just 69 seconds. He signed with the Ultimate
Fighting Championship four months later, went 1-1 in his first two
appearances and then challenged
for the undisputed heavyweight title at UFC 91 on Nov.
15, 2008. Lesnar stopped Couture on second-round punches to capture
the championship in just his fourth professional bout. Successful
title defenses against Frank Mir and
followed before health issues and ill-fated encounters
with Cain
and Alistair
derailed his career, prompting his return to the

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