WWE wisely planted the seeds for a possible Brock Lesnar exit from, or even a Jon Jones appearance on, Raw. They needed to (even indirectly) address the reports their current Universal champion is itching to climb back into a UFC Octagon and fight without a script. And they wanted to capitalize on all the buzz those stories are generating.
With all the chatter out there, you’re going to get conflicting information. And I’m not just talking about dirt sheets.
Let’s start with SI.com, where Justin Barrasso’s “Wrestling News of the Week” column today (Aug. 2) included this news item:
“SI.com has learned that Lesnar’s return to the UFC is imminent, and he will fight Jones as well as fulfill his WWE obligations at the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 34. This all affects the upcoming SummerSlam, as the likelihood that Lesnar keeps the WWE Universal championship, or takes any punishing moves, is all but dimmed, which is another reason he will be hidden in this Fatal 4-Way with Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and Samoa Joe.”
“Imminent”, along with saying Lesnar’s mixed martial arts career will impact the booking of SummerSlam but not next year’s Royal Rumble or ‘Mania makes it sound like the Jones fight will happen between now and the end of 2017.
Which doesn’t fit to the timeline we’ve all understood up until now, which has Brock needing to re-enter the USADA testing pool and undergo six months worth of screening before his one-year suspension for positive results around his last bout (July 2016’s no contest against Mark Hunt at UFC 200).
That’s also how a post from Dave Meltzer published yesterday at our SBNation sister site MMA Fighting has it. What’s more, Meltzer points out even re-entering the pool now would see his suspension lifted around Rumble and WrestleMania 34, a time when WWE plans on using him consistently enough that it wouldn’t allow for a MMA training camp.
"‘Brock is 100 percent at Mania,’" said one WWE source. ‘Not even a discussion any other way — 100 percent.’
Lesnar would not only be doing that show, but he would be on WWE television regularly in January and March as part of the buildup to those events.
Given that Lesnar would need at least two months uninterrupted of a full-time camp to get ready for such a fight, mid-June would figure to be the earliest date likely. By that point, he also wouldn't need the approval of Vince McMahon to do the fight.”
There you have it. Brock is either about to rejoin UFC for a superfight against their Light Heavyweight champion this Fall, or none of this will happen until after his current WWE deal expires next April.
Clear as mud?