After his successful amateur wrestling career at Bismarck State College and the University of Minnesota, Lesnar signed with WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation) in 2000. He was assigned to its developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he was a three-time OVW Southern Tag Team Champion with Shelton Benjamin. After debuting on WWE's main roster in 2002, Lesnar won the WWE (Undisputed) Championship five months after his debut at the age of 25, becoming the youngest champion in the title's history. He was also the 2002 King of the Ring and the 2003 Royal Rumble winner, making him the youngest King of the Ring and Royal Rumble winner as well. Following his match with Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, Lesnar left the WWE and pursued a career in the National Football League (NFL). He was named a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, but was cut prior to the start of the 2004 season. In 2005, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling and signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match. After a contractual dispute with NJPW, he also wrestled as IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF).
In 2006, Lesnar pursued a career in mixed martial arts (MMA), as he signed with Hero's and won his first fight, against Min-Soo Kim, in June 2007. He then signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the following October. Lesnar lost in his UFC debut against Frank Mir and then won his second fight against Heath Herring. In November 2008, Lesnar defeated Randy Couture to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Shortly after a successful title defense in a rematch with Mir, Lesnar was sidelined due to diverticulitis. He would return at UFC 116 to defeat Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin and unify the heavyweight championships, becoming the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion in the process. Lesnar then lost the championship to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. In 2011, he was once again sidelined due to diverticulitis and underwent surgery. Lesnar returned at UFC 141 in December, losing to Alistair Overeem and promptly retiring from MMA. Lesnar was a box office sensation in UFC, as he took part in a some of the best selling pay-per-view events in UFC history, including UFC 100 and UFC 116.
In April 2012, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling, rejoining WWE after an eight-year hiatus. Two years later, at WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to end his undefeated streak at WrestleMania. He achieved world champion status twice after this, having won the WWE (World Heavyweight) Championship in 2014 and the Universal Championship in 2017.
Lesnar is a five-time world champion in WWE, a one-time heavyweight champion in the UFC, a one-time heavyweight champion in NJPW, and a one-time heavyweight wrestling champion in the NCAA, the only person in history to win a championship in each of those organizations. He has headlined numerous pay-per-view events for both the WWE and UFC, including WrestleMania XIX, WrestleMania 31, UFC 100 and UFC 116. Lesnar has been managed by Paul Heyman throughout the majority of his professional wrestling career. A 2015 ESPN.com article referred to Lesnar as "the most accomplished athlete in professional wrestling history".
Lesnar was born and raised in Webster, South Dakota, the son of Stephanie and Richard Lesnar, who owned and operated a dairy farm. He is of German descent. He has two older brothers named Troy and Chad and a younger sister named Brandi. At age 17, he joined the Army National Guard, where he was assigned to an office job after his red-green colorblindness was deemed hazardous to his desire to work with explosives. He lost this job after failing a computer typing test and later worked for a construction company.
Lesnar attended Webster High School, where he played football and competed in amateur wrestling, placing third in the state championships his senior year. He then attended Bismarck State College, where he won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) heavyweight wrestling championship in his sophomore year. He transferred to the University of Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship for his junior and senior college years, where he was roommates with future WWE colleague Shelton Benjamin, who was also his assistant coach.
Lesnar won the 2000 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I heavyweight wrestling championship his senior year after being the runner-up to Stephen Neal the year prior. He finished his amateur career as a two-time NJCAA All-American, the 1998 NJCAA Heavyweight Champion, two-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Conference Champion and the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Champion, with a record of 106–5 overall in four years of college.
In 2000, Lesnar signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and was sent to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where Lesnar first met future friend and manager Paul Heyman. He formed a tag team known as The Minnesota Stretching Crew with his former college roommate Shelton Benjamin and together they won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship on three separate occasions. Lesnar wrestled several dark matches in 2001 and 2002 before being called up to the WWF's main roster.
Lesnar debuted on WWF television on the March 18, 2002 episode of Raw as a villain, attacking Al Snow, Maven and Spike Dudley during their match, while also being accompanied by Paul Heyman, who was seen giving instructions to Lesnar. When the brand extension was introduced in the WWF, Lesnar was drafted to the Raw brand. Later, Heyman was confirmed to be Lesnar's agent and gave Lesnar the nickname "The Next Big Thing". Lesnar's first feud was with The Hardy Boyz and Lesnar defeated Jeff Hardy by knockout after Hardy was unable to respond to referee Theodore Long at Backlash on April 21, his first official televised match. The next night on Raw, Lesnar faced off against Jeff Hardy's brother, Matt Hardy, and defeated him in the same fashion. Lesnar and Shawn Stasiak lost to The Hardy Boyz at Insurrextion on May 4 after Stasiak was pinned, but he attacked all the participants after the match. At Judgment Day on May 19, Lesnar and Heyman defeated The Hardy Boyz.
In June 2002, Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament, defeating Bubba Ray Dudley in the first round, Booker T in the quarter-finals, Test in the semi-finals and Rob Van Dam in the finals, earning him a shot at the WWE Undisputed Championship at SummerSlam. At Vengeance on July 21, Lesnar lost to Van Dam in a WWE Intercontinental Championship match by disqualification. On July 22, Lesnar joined the SmackDown! brand. After a quick feud with Hollywood Hulk Hogan in August 2002, Lesnar defeated WWE Undisputed Champion The Rock at SummerSlam on August 25 to become the WWE Undisputed Champion and youngest WWE Champion at age 25, a record previously held by The Rock himself. He also became the second fastest professional wrestler to win the WWE Championship since his debut (126 days) behind only Ric Flair (113 days). At the time, the WWE Undisputed Championship was being defended on both brands, so Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff expected Lesnar to return on Raw the following night. However, SmackDown! General Manager Stephanie McMahon announced that Lesnar was only required to defend the title on SmackDown! shows and events, forcing Bischoff to establish a new championship for the Raw brand (the World Heavyweight Championship), while the WWE Undisputed Championship was then renamed the WWE Championship.
Lesnar's rapid rise to the top of WWE in 2002 led to a feud with The Undertaker, which involved a match at Unforgiven on September 22. The match ended in a double disqualification and Lesnar retained the title. Lesnar faced The Undertaker again at No Mercy, this time in a Hell in a Cell match. Leading up to the match, in the storyline, Lesnar broke The Undertaker's hand with a propane tank. Despite Heyman begging McMahon not to let The Undertaker use his cast as a weapon, the request was denied and the match went on as planned. At No Mercy on October 20, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to retain the title. After his Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker, Lesnar successfully retained the WWE Championship in a handicap match with Heyman against Edge at Rebellion on October 26.
Lesnar's next opponent was Big Show and Heyman was convinced more than anyone that Lesnar could not win, trying to talk him out of defending the title. Lesnar refused and defended the title against Show at Survivor Series on November 17, Lesnar performed an F-5 on Show, but Heyman pulled the referee out of the ring, voiding the pinfall. This allowed Show to chokeslam Lesnar on a steel chair to win the title. This loss was Lesnar's first pinfall loss in WWE and led Lesnar to turn into a fan favorite. Following Survivor Series, Heyman made it clear that Lesnar would not get a rematch, and had snuck a special clause saying so into his contract. In order to gain his revenge on Big Show and Heyman, Lesnar interfered in his first title defense, which came against Kurt Angle the next month at Armageddon on December 15, where Lesnar executed the F-5 on Big Show, which enabled Angle to pin him and win the title. On the following episode of SmackDown!, however, Angle introduced Heyman as his manager and, despite promising Lesnar a title shot earlier in the evening, declared that Lesnar still would not get it. Lesnar's rivalry with Heyman and Big Show resumed, which culminated in a match at the Royal Rumble in January 2003 with the winner being placed into the Royal Rumble later in the evening. On January 19, Lesnar would defeat Show and entered the Royal Rumble match as the No. 29 entry, the second to last competitor to enter the match. He eliminated Matt Hardy and The World's Greatest Tag Team, which was composed of Charlie Haas and his former OVW teammate Shelton Benjamin, who were mentored by Angle. Lesnar would then eliminate The Undertaker last and win the Royal Rumble, which guaranteed him a title match at WrestleMania XIX. After the Royal Rumble, Lesnar and Chris Benoit defeated Angle, Haas and Benjamin at No Way Out on February 23. During the match at WrestleMania XIX on March 30, Lesnar botched a shooting star press, a move he had done numerous times in developmental matches, and jammed his head and neck. This stunned Lesnar and forced Angle and Lesnar to improvise the finish of the match – a pinfall by Lesnar that allowed him to win his second WWE Championship. Lesnar was diagnosed with a concussion from the botched shooting star press.
After WrestleMania XIX, Lesnar turned his attention to John Cena, who had returned from injury in February 2003 after an F-5 into a ringpost, with Cena claiming Lesnar nearly ended his career and even named his new finishing move the "F.U." as a jab at the new champion. The feud ended in a match at Backlash on April 27, where Lesnar defeated Cena to retained the title. On the following episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar returned to his rivalry with Big Show after, in the storyline, he injured Rey Mysterio badly during their match at Backlash. Show's attack resulted in Mysterio being carried out on a stretcher and back board, and Show took Mysterio off the stretcher and swung the back board into the ringpost, compounding the injury. Lesnar called out Show, who demanded that Lesnar put his title on the line against him. This led to a stretcher match for the title at Judgment Day on May 18, which Lesnar successfully retained with help from Rey Mysterio and a forklift. During the scripted rivalry on the June 12 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar lifted Big Show off the top-rope in a superplex which caused the ring to collapse on impact. As Lesnar and Big Show continued their rivalry, Kurt Angle returned from his neck surgery and he and Lesnar began to form a more friendly rivalry, as the two were allies yet contenders for the title. At the first ever SmackDown! brand-exclusive pay-per-view in July named Vengeance, Lesnar defended the title against Angle and Show in a triple threat match, which Angle won by pinning Lesnar to regain the title.
Lesnar continued to aggressively pursue the WWE Championship despite his friendship with Angle. Mr. McMahon became involved in the angle, at first berating Lesnar, who had involved himself in McMahon's rivalry with Zach Gowen, for losing to Angle. This all turned out to be a swerve that came into focus on the August 7 episode of SmackDown! in Kelowna, British Columbia. That night, Lesnar and McMahon were to face each other in a steel cage match with Angle as the special guest referee as per McMahon's orders on the previous week's program. During the match, Lesnar had passed out due to a staged backstage incident and McMahon was set to pin him, but Angle refused to allow McMahon to win that way. As the two men began to argue, Lesnar attacked Angle with an F-5 and kept attacking Angle while McMahon watched and celebrated with him afterwards, turning back into a villain in the process. At SummerSlam on August 24, Lesnar lost to Angle when Angle made Lesnar tapped out to the ankle lock. After that, Lesnar would cement his villainous turn by brutalizing smaller wrestlers and attacking his rivals on a more consistent basis. He returned to performing the F-5 into the ringpost, as he did to Spanky and Gowen, and interfered in Angle's matches on two separate occasions. On the September 18 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar defeated Angle in an Iron Man match for the title by a final score of five to four.
Lesnar successfully defended his newly won title against the debuting Paul London on October 9 episode of SmackDown!. He returned to feud with The Undertaker, as Lesnar had previously cost Undertaker the title in a match against then champion Kurt Angle, which granted him a shot at Lesnar's title. At No Mercy on October 19, Lesnar defeated Undertaker in a Biker Chain match. After Paul Heyman returned to WWE as SmackDown! General Manager, Lesnar aligned himself with his former manager. With Survivor Series coming up, Lesnar decided to challenge Angle to a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match. Lesnar chose Big Show as his first teammate, with Heyman adding a returning Nathan Jones and a debuting Matt Morgan to bring the team number to four. Angle chose Chris Benoit and The APA to join his team. However, Faarooq was injured during a match with Lesnar and Angle's team was forced to find a replacement for him. Lesnar's team picked A-Train to fill the fifth and final spot for them after he attacked John Cena, who refused to accept an invitation to join Lesnar's team. Cena instead joined Angle's team and Angle added Hardcore Holly as the fifth member (Lesnar had legitimately injured Holly the year before and he had not wrestled since). On November 16 at Survivor Series, Lesnar was eliminated after Benoit forced him to tap out to the Crippler Crossface. Lesnar defended the WWE Championship against Benoit on SmackDown!, where Lesnar won after Benoit passed out to Lesnar's debuting Brock Lock submission hold.
The Survivor Series in November 2003 also marked the first time Lesnar met Goldberg from the Raw brand. After Lesnar claimed in a backstage interview that he could beat anybody in the world, Goldberg interrupted the interview and introduced himself to Lesnar, shaking hands with him before leaving with a staredown. Lesnar followed this rivalry with a feud involving Hardcore Holly. In the storyline, Holly wanted revenge on Lesnar for legitimately injuring his neck during a previous match between the two in 2002 which left Holly in need of neck surgery and out of action for a year. At the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2004, Lesnar defeated Holly to retain the WWE Championship. Later in the Royal Rumble match, Lesnar attacked Goldberg and attacked him with an F-5, enabling Kurt Angle to eliminate him.
Lesnar defended the WWE Championship against Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out on February 15. Goldberg attacked Lesnar with a spear while the referee was unconscious, allowing Guerrero to pin Lesnar for a near-fall. Lesnar then attempted an F-5 on Guerrero but Guerrero reversed it into a DDT on the title belt and executed a frog splash to win the WWE Championship. An angry Lesnar then began feuding with Goldberg, blaming him for losing his title, and a match was set up between the two at WrestleMania XX on March 14. During the feud with Goldberg, Lesnar was also at odds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was shown suggesting to Goldberg that he attack Lesnar at No Way Out. After Lesnar attacked Austin on Raw and stole his four-wheeler, Austin was inserted as the special guest referee for the WrestleMania match. On the March 4 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar defeated Hardcore Holly in his last match on a weekly WWE televised show. Behind the scenes, it was widely known that the match was Goldberg's last in WWE. Only a week before WrestleMania, rumors surfaced that Lesnar too was leaving to pursue a career in the National Football League (NFL). As a result, Lesnar's match with Goldberg became a fiasco as the fans at Madison Square Garden jeered and heckled both professional wrestlers vociferously. Goldberg won after a Jackhammer and both men subsequently received Stone Cold Stunners from Austin.
On October 8, 2005, Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on his debut match in a three-way match with Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono at a New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) show in the Tokyo Dome. Lesnar is one of the few American wrestlers to have held this title. He won the match by pinning Masahiro Chono after an F-5, which he had renamed the Verdict since WWE owns the trademark on the F-5 name. After the match, Lesnar stated that this name was referring to his lawsuit against WWE, who filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Lesnar from continuing to work with NJPW on December 6, but the court did not grant it. Following that, he had two non-title victories against Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata. Lesnar successfully defended the championship on January 4, 2006 against former champion Shinsuke Nakamura. On January 13, WWE once again filed an injunction against Lesnar to stop him from defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship which was also not enforced as he went on to retain his championship against former Sumo Wrestling Grand Champion Akebono on March 19, at the Sumo Hall. Lesnar had another successful title defense against Giant Bernard on May 3. This was the first American vs. American title match in NJPW since Vader vs. Stan Hansen in 1990. On July 15, NJPW announced Lesnar would not return to defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship due to "visa issues" and had been stripped of the title. A tournament was held on July 16 to determine the new champion which was won by Hiroshi Tanahashi. Lesnar continued to possess the physical IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt until late June 2007.
Approximately one year later on June 29, 2007, Lesnar defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle in a champion vs. champion match. Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) promoter Antonio Inoki had stated Lesnar was the "proper" IWGP Heavyweight Champion as he was not defeated for the title. Angle would defeat Lesnar by forcing him to tap out to the ankle lock to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as recognized by IGF and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). This was Lesnar's last match as a professional wrestler until 2012, when he re-signed with WWE.
Lesnar returned to WWE on April 2, 2012 on Raw, as a villain, by confronting and delivering an F-5 to John Cena. The following week on Raw, General Manager John Laurinaitis revealed that he signed Lesnar to bring "legitimacy" back to the WWE and become the "new face of the WWE". Laurinaitis also announced that Lesnar would face Cena at Extreme Rules with the Extreme Rules stipulation later added to the match. At Extreme Rules on April 29, Lesnar lost to Cena despite dominating the match.
The following night on Raw, WWE's Chief Operating Officer Triple H refused to give in to Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands (which included being given his own personal jet and having Raw renamed to Monday Night Raw Starring Brock Lesnar), resulting in Lesnar attacking him and breaking his arm with a kimura lock in storyline. The next week on Raw, Paul Heyman made his return as Lesnar's legal representative and claimed that Lesnar was quitting WWE. He later announced a lawsuit against WWE for breach of contract. At No Way Out in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar (who was not present) to a match at SummerSlam, which Lesnar refused. Stephanie McMahon would later goad Heyman into accepting the match on Lesnar's behalf on July 23 at Raw 1000. At SummerSlam on August 19, Lesnar defeated Triple H by submission after once again breaking his arm in storyline. The following night on Raw, Lesnar declared himself the new "King of Kings" and said that he would depart from WWE after his victory over Triple H, stating that he had conquered everything in the company.
Lesnar returned on the January 28, 2013 episode of Raw, confronting Mr. McMahon who was about to fire Heyman, and despite Heyman's pleas, Lesnar attacked McMahon with an F-5, breaking McMahon's pelvis in storyline. The following week during The Miz's Miz TV talk show, Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero revealed herself as the one who signed Lesnar to a new contract to impress McMahon. On the February 25 episode of Raw, Lesnar once again attempted to attack McMahon, only to get into a brawl with the returning Triple H, which resulted in Lesnar legitimately having his head split open and requiring eighteen stitches. The following week on Raw, Triple H issued a challenge to Lesnar, requesting a rematch with him at WrestleMania 29, which Lesnar accepted but only after Triple signed a contract and Lesnar named the stipulation. After Triple H signed the contract and assaulted Heyman, the stipulation was revealed as No Holds Barred with Triple H's career on the line. At WrestleMania 29 on April 7, Lesnar lost to Triple H after a Pedigree onto the steel steps. On the April 15 episode of Raw, Lesnar attacked 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal) before Heyman challenged Triple H to face Lesnar in a steel cage match at Extreme Rules, which Triple H accepted the following week. At the event on May 19, after interference from Heyman, Lesnar defeated Triple H to end their feud. Lesnar returned on the June 17 episode of Raw, attacking Heyman's fellow client CM Punk with an F-5. Despite the accusations from Punk, Heyman claimed that he was not behind Lesnar's attack on him. However, Heyman turned on Punk in July, and claimed that Punk could not beat Lesnar, which led to Lesnar making his return and attacking Punk on the July 15 episode of Raw. The following week on Raw, Punk challenged Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam on August 18, where Lesnar defeated Punk in a no disqualification match.
On the December 30 episode of Raw, Lesnar returned with Heyman to announce his intentions to challenge the winner of the upcoming WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Lesnar then dared any wrestler who disapproved of that notion to challenge him, which was answered by Mark Henry, and a brawl would ensue, ending with Lesnar delivering an F-5 to Henry. The following week on Raw, Henry challenged Lesnar again, only to have Lesnar dislocate his elbow with the Kimura lock in storyline, which led Big Show to come out afterwards to confront Lesnar, thus starting a feud which was settled at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2014, where Lesnar defeated Show after attacking him with a steel chair before the match began. On the February 24 episode of Raw, after Heyman stated that Lesnar had requested a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, instead receiving an open contract to face anyone else of his choosing, The Undertaker then returned and attacked Lesnar with a chokeslam through a table, setting up their match at WrestleMania XXX. On April 6, Lesnar defeated Undertaker after executing three F-5s, ending his undefeated WrestleMania streak at 21, a feat that was described by Sports Illustrated as being "the most shocking result since the Montreal Screwjob".
On the July 21 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that Lesnar would face John Cena at SummerSlam for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. At SummerSlam on August 17, Lesnar defeated Cena to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and during the match he delivered sixteen suplexes (most of which were German suplexes) and two F-5s to Cena, who barely managed any offense. On the August 19 episode of Main Event, Triple H announced that Cena was invoking his championship rematch clause against Lesnar at Night of Champions on September 21, where Lesnar was disqualified due to Seth Rollins interfering, but retained his championship, which could not be lost via disqualification. Later in the year, after Rollins reunited with The Authority, he was added to Lesnar and Cena's championship match at the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2015, making it a triple threat match, which Lesnar won despite suffering a storyline broken rib during the match.
Lesnar's next challenger was Roman Reigns, who won the Royal Rumble match to earn the right to face Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 31 on March 29. During his main event match against Reigns, Lesnar delivered multiple suplexes and was heard exclaiming, "Suplex City, bitch!" and thereafter "Suplex City" became one of his signature catchphrases and merchandise motifs. After Lesnar and Reigns traded a few false finishes, Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract while the match was in progress, thus making it a triple threat; Rollins then pinned Reigns to win the title. The following night on Raw, Lesnar tried to invoke his rematch clause and subsequently attacked commentators Booker T, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Michael Cole, as well as a cameraman after Rollins refused the rematch, which led to Stephanie McMahon suspending Lesnar indefinitely in storyline.
Lesnar returned on the June 15 episode of Raw as a fan favorite, being chosen by The Authority as the number one contender to Rollins' WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. On July 4, Lesnar made his first non-televised wrestling appearance for WWE since his 2012 return, defeating Kofi Kingston at The Beast in the East live event in Tokyo in a quick winning effort; he also delivered F-5s to Kingston's New Day stablemates Big E and Xavier Woods after the match. At Battleground on July 19, Lesnar dominated Rollins, delivering thirteen suplexes, but mid-pinfall, after performing an F-5, he was attacked by The Undertaker (who incapacitated Lesnar with a chokeslam and two Tombstone Piledrivers), thus ending the match with Lesnar winning by disqualification and Rollins retaining the championship.
The following night on Raw, Undertaker explained that he had attacked Lesnar not for ending his WrestleMania streak, but rather for Lesnar allowing Heyman to constantly taunt Undertaker about it, which led to the two brawling throughout the arena and a WrestleMania rematch being scheduled for SummerSlam on August 18, where Undertaker would controversially defeat Lesnar; during the match, Undertaker submitted to a Kimura lock by Lesnar and the timekeeper rang the bell but the referee did not see the submission and demanded that the match continue, which saw Undertaker then attack Lesnar with a low blow and Lesnar pass out to Hell's Gate. The following night on Raw, Lesnar and Heyman challenged Undertaker to an immediate rematch, only to be confronted by Bo Dallas (who mocked Lesnar about his defeat), whom Lesnar then responded by performing three German suplexes and an F-5 on Dallas. During Night of Champions on September 20, it was announced that Lesnar would face The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell on October 25, where Lesnar defeated The Undertaker after a low blow and F-5 onto the exposed ring floor, ending their feud. The match was later voted "Match of the Year" during the 2015 Slammy Awards.
On the January 11, 2016 episode of Raw, Lesnar returned, attacking The New Day, The League of Nations (Sheamus, King Barrett, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio) and Kevin Owens, before performing an F-5 in Roman Reigns. The following week on Raw, Lesnar would brawl with Reigns until they were both attacked by The Wyatt Family. At the Royal Rumble on January 24, Lesnar was the 23rd entrant, eliminating four competitors before being eliminated by Bray Wyatt with help from the rest of The Wyatt Family. On the January 25 episode of Raw, Stephanie McMahon announced that the main event of Fastlane would be a triple threat match between Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to determine who would face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32. In the following weeks, Lesnar would be continuously provoked by Ambrose, with Reigns saving him from the subsequent attacks by Lesnar. At Fastlane on February 21, Lesnar dominated most of the match before he was put through two broadcast tables by Ambrose and Reigns; he would ultimately lose the match after Reigns pinned Ambrose. Because of this, Lesnar attacked Ambrose in the parking lot as he was arriving at the arena. Ambrose returnef later in the night, having hijacked an ambulance, and challenged Lesnar to a No Holds Barred Street Fight match at WrestleMania 32 on April 3, where Lesnar defeated Ambrose after an F-5 onto a pile of chairs.
On the July 7 episode of SmackDown, it was announced that Lesnar would be facing Randy Orton at SummerSlam, who himself had just returned to WWE from injury. Two days later on July 9, WWE allowed Lesnar to have a one-off fight for UFC 200. Lesnar failed two of his drug tests for this fight, but he was not suspended by WWE because he is not a full-time performer. On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Lesnar was the #5 draft pick for the Raw brand. Reports claimed that he would have been #1 had he not failed his UFC drug tests. Orton was drafted to SmackDown, thus making their match an interbrand match, while WWE billed their face-off as a match fifteen years in the making. Along with Heyman, Lesnar made his return to Raw on August 1 (his first appearance on WWE programming since WrestleMania 32), but during his segment Orton appeared and attacked Lesnar with an RKO. Lesnar then attacked Orton during his match the following night on SmackDown Live, performing an F-5 on Orton. At SummerSlam on August 21, Lesnar defeated Orton by technical knockout, leaving Orton with a forehead wound which required ten staples. Much to Shane McMahon's dismay, Lesnar would later attack Shane with an F-5. The end made many people believe Lesnar had gone off script due to the severity of Orton's head wound. Lesnar was later storyline fined $500 for delivering an F-5 to SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon and his assault on Orton. On September 24 at a house show in Chicago, Illinois, Lesnar defeated Orton in a no-disqualification rematch, with the match being billed as a Suplex City death match.
On the October 10 episode of Raw, Heyman, on Lesnar's behalf, challenged Goldberg to a fight after the pair had been feuding for several months through social media and during promotional work for the WWE 2K17 video game, which featured Lesnar as the cover star and Goldberg as the pre-order bonus. Heyman stated that Goldberg was the one blemish on Lesnar's WWE career, as Goldberg had defeated Lesnar at WrestleMania XX in 2004. On the October 17 episode of Raw, Goldberg returned to the WWE after a twelve-year absence and accepted Lesnar's request for a fight with their match later scheduled for Survivor Series. On the final Raw before Survivor Series, Lesnar and Goldberg had a confrontation for the first time in twelve years, resulting in a brawl with security after Heyman insulted Goldberg's family. On November 20 at Survivor Series, Lesnar lost to Goldberg in 1 minute and 26 seconds, marking the first time in three years that Lesnar was pinned. The next night on Raw, Goldberg declared himself the first entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble match. The following week on Raw, Heyman addressed the Survivor Series match, stating that they underestimated Goldberg and that the match was a humiliation and embarrassment for him and Lesnar, who would also be in the Royal Rumble as he has something to prove. Lesnar returned on the January 16 episode of Raw to confront other Royal Rumble participants, attacking Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. At the Royal Rumble on January 29, Lesnar entered at number 26 and went on to eliminate Enzo Amore, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler before confronting Goldberg, who entered at number 28 and quickly eliminated Lesnar after a spear.
The following night on Raw, Lesnar challenged Goldberg to a final match at WrestleMania 33. On the February 6 episode of Raw, Goldberg would accept Lesnar's challenge whilst also being named number one contender for Kevin Owens' Universal Championship, which he won at Fastlane thus turning his match with Lesnar into a title match. At WrestleMania 33, Lesnar beat Goldberg to win his fifth world title in WWE and the first man to have won both the WWE Championship and Universal Championship. Lesnar also became the second person to kick-out from Goldberg's Jackhammer and gave him the first clean singles loss of his professional wrestling career. After several weeks of feuding, Lesnar's first title defense came at the inaugural Great Balls of Fire event on July 9, 2017, where he successfully retained against Samoa Joe, before defeating him a second time for the title at a live event.
On the July 31 edition of Raw, Raw general manager Kurt Angle announced that Lesnar would defend his title in a Fatal 4-Way match at Summerslam against Joe, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman. Lesnar and Heyman then appeared, announcing that both would leave WWE should Lesnar lose the championship in the match. At the event, Lesnar successfully retained the title by pinning Reigns. The next night on Raw, Lesnar was attacked by Strowman; it was later announced that the two would face for the title at No Mercy.
After his match at WrestleMania XX in March 2004, Lesnar sidelined his career in WWE to pursue a career in the National Football League (NFL) despite not playing American football since high school. The WWE issued this statement on their official website, WWE.com, following his departure:
Lesnar later told a Minnesota radio show that he had "three wonderful years" in WWE, but had grown unhappy and always wanted to play professional football, adding that he did not want to be 40 years old and wondering if he could have "made it" in football. In an interview about the NFL, he stated:
Lesnar had a great showing at the NFL Combine, but on April 17 a minivan collided with his motorbike and he suffered a broken jaw and left hand, a bruised pelvis and a pulled groin. Several NFL teams expressed interest in watching Lesnar work out. The Minnesota Vikings worked out Lesnar on June 11, but he was hampered by the groin injury suffered in the April motorcycle accident. On July 24 it was reported that he was nearly recovered from his groin injury. He signed with the Vikings on July 27 and played in several preseason games for the team. He was released by the Vikings on August 30. Lesnar received an invitation to play as a representative for the Vikings in NFL Europa, but declined due to his desire to stay in the United States with his family. He had several football cards produced of him during his time with the Vikings.
On April 29, 2006, after the final match of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Las Vegas, Lesnar announced his intent to join K-1's mixed martial arts league, Hero's. He trained with Minnesota Martial Arts Academy under Greg Nelson and Minnesota Assistant Head wrestling coach Marty Morgan. Lesnar announced on August 12 in Las Vegas that he had signed a deal with the K-1 promotion. His first fight was scheduled against Choi Hong-man of South Korea on June 2, 2007 at the K-1 Dynamite!! USA show. However, prior to the match, Hong-Man was replaced by Min Soo Kim. Lesnar submitted Soo Kim with strikes in 1:09 of the first round to win his first official MMA match.
During UFC 77 on October 20, it was announced that Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). On February 2, 2008, Lesnar made his debut with the promotion in an event titled UFC 81: Breaking Point against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Due to his large hands, Lesnar was wearing 4XL gloves for the fight, making him the second man in Nevada's combat sports history to wear such gloves, after Choi Hong-man. Lesnar secured an early takedown and began landing numerous punches, but was docked a point after a punch hit Mir on the back of the head. Following another takedown by Lesnar, Mir managed to secure a kneebar and forced a submission at 1:30 of the first round, causing Lesnar to lose in his UFC debut. At UFC 82 on March 1, former UFC Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Famer Mark Coleman was announced to fight Lesnar at UFC 87. However, Coleman withdrew from the fight due to an injury and was replaced by Heath Herring. On August 9, Lesnar defeated Herring by unanimous decision.
Lesnar then faced Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 on November 15. Lesnar beat Couture via a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
On December 27 at UFC 92, Frank Mir defeated Antônio Nogueira for the Interim Heavyweight Championship and was to face Lesnar for the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 98. Immediately after winning the Interim Heavyweight title, Mir found Lesnar in the crowd and shouted, "You've got my belt". Due to a knee injury to Mir, the title unification match with Lesnar that was originally slated to be the UFC 98 main event was postponed. Lesnar won the postponed rematch with Mir at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009, via technical knockout in the second round. The win earned Lesnar Beatdown of the Year honors, with Anderson Silva, from Sherdog for 2009. During his post-match celebration, Lesnar flipped off the crowd who had been booing him. Lesnar also made a disparaging comment about the pay-per-view's primary sponsor Bud Light, claiming they "won't pay me nothin'" and promoted Coors Light instead. Lesnar later apologized for his remarks at the post-fight press conference, where he held a bottle of Bud Light and endorsed their product.
On July 1 it was reported that the winner of the Shane Carwin vs. Cain Velasquez fight at UFC 104 would face Lesnar, but the match was scrapped and Lesnar was scheduled to defend the title against Shane Carwin at UFC 106 on November 21. On October 2 it was announced that Lesnar pulled out of his Carwin bout due to an illness. UFC President Dana White said Lesnar had been ill for three weeks, claiming he had never been this sick in his life and that it would take him a while to recover, therefore his fight with Carwin was rescheduled for UFC 108 on January 2, 2010. Lesnar initially sought treatment in Canada, but later told reporters that he had received "Third World treatment" at a hospital in Brandon, Manitoba and that seeking better treatment in the United States saved his life. Lesnar went on to criticize Canadian health care further and stated that he shared his experience in an effort to speak "on the behalf of the doctors in the United States that don't want health care reform to happen".
On November 4 it was confirmed that Lesnar was suffering from mononucleosis and that his bout with Carwin would have to wait a bit longer and the fight for Lesnar's heavyweight championship was cancelled. On November 14 at the UFC 105 post-fight conference, Dana White stated, "[Lesnar]'s not well and he's not going to be getting well anytime soon" and that an interim title match might need to be set up. In addition to mononucleosis, it was revealed that he was suffering from a serious case of diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder, which required surgery. After further diagnosis, Lesnar underwent surgery on November 16 to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking fecal matter into his abdomen, causing pain, abscesses and overtaxing his immune system to the point that he contracted mononucleosis. From the level of damage to Lesnar's system, the surgeon estimated that the intestinal condition had been ongoing for around a year.
In January 2010, Lesnar announced on ESPN's SportsCenter that he was scheduled to make a return to the UFC in the summer. A match between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin took place on March 27 at UFC 111 to determine the Interim Heavyweight Champion and Lesnar's next opponent. Shane Carwin defeated Mir via knockout in the first round, becoming the new Interim Champion. After the fight, Lesnar came into the ring and stated, "It was a good fight but he's wearing a belt that's a make-believe belt. I've got the real championship belt". Lesnar faced Carwin at UFC 116 on July 3 to unify the heavyweight titles. Early in the first round, Carwin knocked Lesnar down with punch, gave him a cut above his left eye and used a ground and pound attack the rest of the round. In the next round, Lesnar was able to take Carwin down, attain a full mount, then move into side-control and finish the fight with an arm triangle choke. With the victory, Lesnar became the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, earning his first Submission of the Night and giving Carwin his first loss. The win also tied a UFC record for most consecutive successful UFC Heavyweight Championship defenses.
Lesnar's next defense was against undefeated top contender Cain Velasquez on October 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California at UFC 121. Dana White announced via SportsNation that the UFC would bring back UFC Primetime to hype the fight. Lesnar was defeated by Velasquez for the title by TKO in the first round.
On January 11, 2011, Lesnar was announced as a coach of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite Junior dos Santos, with the two expected to fight on June 11 at UFC 131, but he was struck with another bout of diverticulitis and had to withdraw from the fight on May 12. He was replaced by Shane Carwin, who ended up losing against dos Santos. Lesnar underwent surgery on May 27 to help battle his problems with diverticulitis. Dana White said that he had a 12-inch piece of his colon removed.
In its May 2011 issue, ESPN's magazine published a story listing the highest paid athlete based on base salary and earnings for the most recent calendar year or most recent season in 30 sports. Lesnar topped the list for MMA at $5.3 million, which included his reported bout salaries and estimated pay-per-view bonuses.
In the summer of 2011, Lesnar announced that he was returning to action, stating, "I feel like a new man. Healthy. Strong. I feel like I used to feel". His return match was scheduled to be at UFC 141 on December 30 in Las Vegas against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Overeem won the fight by way of technical knockout in the first round. The result of the fight remains controversial, as Overeem tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone prior to his next fight. Lesnar then announced his retirement from MMA, mentioning his struggles with diverticulitis and saying "tonight was the last time you'll see me in the octagon".
Speculation about a return to MMA lasted until March 24, 2015, when Lesnar announced in an interview on SportsCenter that he had re-signed with WWE and officially closed the door on a return to MMA, even though he was offered a deal "ten times more" than what he had made previously in his MMA career. He further elaborated that, while he was training for months for a return to the UFC, he felt "physically great but something was lacking mentally". Lesnar added that "[he's] an older caveman now, so [he] makes smarter caveman decisions" and that he chose to sign with WWE instead of returning to MMA because he could "work part-time with full-time pay".
Though Lesnar said he was "closing the door on MMA" in March 2015, UFC announced on June 4, 2016 that he would return at UFC 200 on July 9. WWE confirmed it had granted Lesnar "a one-off opportunity" to compete at UFC 200 before he would return to the company for SummerSlam on August 21. Lesnar, representing Canada for the first time in his career, defeated Mark Hunt by unanimous decision, avoiding 19 of Hunt's 30 attempted standing strikes and taking him down four times to land 43 significant ground strikes (32 in the final round). He also was paid a UFC record $2.5 million purse. This record was broken at UFC 202 by Conor McGregor, who was also the previous holder.
On July 15, Lesnar was notified of a potential anti-doping policy violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stemming from an undisclosed banned substance in an out-of-competition sample collected on June 28. On July 19, the UFC announced that a second sample taken in-competition on July 9 tested positive for the same banned substance discovered in the previous out-of-competition sample. On August 23, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) confirmed that Lesnar twice tested positive for the estrogen blocker clomiphene and he was suspended.
On December 15, it was confirmed that Lesnar was fined $250,000 and suspended from competition for one year by the NSAC. He would be eligible to return in July 2017. As a result of the suspension, the result of his fight with Mark Hunt was overturned to a no contest.
On February 14, 2017, it was reported that Lesnar had notified UFC he was retiring from MMA for the second time.
Lesnar married Rena Greek, known professionally as Sable, on May 6, 2006. They reside on a farm in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, having previously lived in Maple Plain, Minnesota. Together, they have two sons named Turk (born June 3, 2009) and Duke (born July 21, 2010). Lesnar also has twins: a daughter named Mya Lynn and a son named Luke (both born April 10, 2002) with his former fiancée, Nicole McClain. He is also the stepfather of Greek's daughter with her late husband.
Lesnar is a conservative and a supporter of the Republican Party. He is a member of the National Rifle Association, making an appearance at their annual meeting in May 2011 to discuss his passion for hunting and his role as a spokesman for the Fusion Ammunition company. He is a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, and all three of his sons play hockey.
During his first run in WWE, Lesnar developed addictions to both alcohol and painkillers, allegedly drinking a bottle of vodka per day and taking hundreds of Vicodin pills per month to manage the pain caused by wear and tear on his body. He named his accident at WrestleMania XIX as a particular source of pain. Lesnar claims that, as a result of his addiction and mental exhaustion, he does not remember "an entire two years" of his WWE career.
In January 2001, Lesnar was arrested by police in Louisville, Kentucky for suspicion of possessing large amounts of anabolic steroids. The charges were dropped when it was discovered that the substances were a legal growth hormone. His lawyer described it as a "vitamin type of thing".
Lesnar had previously signed a non-compete clause in order to be released from his contract with WWE, which prohibited him from working for any other professional wrestling companies before June 2010. However, he decided to challenge this ruling in court. WWE responded with a counterclaim after Lesnar breached the agreement by appearing at a New Japan Pro-Wrestling show in 2004. In July 2005, the two sides dropped their claims and entered negotiations to renew their relationship. WWE had offered Lesnar a contract, but on August 2, their official website reported that Lesnar had withdrawn from any involvement with the company. The lawsuit began to enter settlement talks on September 21, but did not get solved.
On January 14, 2006, Judge Christopher Droney stated that unless WWE gave him a good argument between then and the 25th, he would rule in favor of Lesnar, giving him a summary judgment. This would have enabled Lesnar to work anywhere immediately. WWE was later granted a deadline postponement. On April 24, WWE announced on WWE.com that both parties had reached a settlement. On June 12, a federal judge dismissed the case at the request of both legal parties.
On December 15, 2011, Lesnar was charged with hunting infractions on a trip to Alberta on November 19, 2010. Two charges were dropped, but Lesnar pleaded guilty to the charge of improper tagging of an animal. He was fined $1,725 and given a six-month hunting suspension.
In 2003, WWE Home Video released a DVD chronicling Lesnar's career entitled Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain. It was re-released in 2012 as a three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray collector's edition to tie in with Lesnar's WWE return. It was also expanded to include new matches and interviews. In 2016, a new home video was released on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a collector's edition, called Brock Lesnar: Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. and includes accomplishments from his second run in WWE.
Lesnar was featured on the covers of Flex and Muscle & Fitness magazine in 2004 and Minneapolis' City Pages in 2008.
In 2009, Lesnar signed an endorsement deal with Dymatize Nutrition. A CD containing footage of Lesnar training was included with Dymatize's "Xpand" product.
In 2011, Lesnar published an autobiography titled Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival (ISBN 978-0062023117). It was co-written with Paul Heyman.
In a 2013 post on his blog, Attack on Titan author Hajime Isayama revealed that he drew inspiration from Lesnar for the character of the Armored Titan.
Lesnar has also appeared in multiple comedic Instagram and Vine videos by actor Eric Stonestreet.Finishing moves
Brock Lock (Over-the-shoulder single leg Boston crab) – 2002–2004
F-5 (WWE) Verdict (NJPW/IGF) (Fireman's carry facebuster) – 2002–2006; 2012–present
Kimura lock – 2012–present
Shooting star press – OVW
Gorilla press slam
Knee lifts to the opponent's midsection
Multiple suplex variations
Fisherman, sometimes while delaying
Overhead belly-to-belly, sometimes into or out of the ring
Multiple turnbuckle thrusts
Rear naked choke
Standing double leg takedown followed by mounted punches
Triple non-release powerbomb
"The Beast (Incarnate)"
"The Next Big Thing"
"The One in 21–1"
Ultimate Fighting Championship
"Enter Sandman" by Metallica
"Nickel Size Hail (And the Damaging Winds)" by Sunny Ledfurd
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
"Enforcer" by Jim Johnston (April 8, 2002 – June 3, 2002)
"Next Big Thing" by Jim Johnston (June 10, 2002 – March 14, 2004; April 2, 2012 – August 20, 2012)
"Next Big Thing (Remix)" by Jim Johnston (January 28, 2013–present)
National Collegiate Athletic Association
NCAA Division I All-American (1999, 2000)
NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion (2000)
Big Ten Conference Champion (1999, 2000)
National Junior College Athletic Association
NJCAA All-American (1997, 1998)
NJCAA Heavyweight Champion (1998)
North Dakota State University Bison Tournament Champion (1997–1999)
Biggest Draw (2008)
Rookie of the Year (2008)
Beatdown of the Year (2009)
Top Newcomer of the Year (2008)
Ultimate Fighting Championship
UFC Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
Submission of the Night (1 time)
Tied (Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Cain Velasquez and Stipe Miocic) for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses (Two)
World MMA Awards
Breakthrough Fighter of the Year (2009)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Best Box Office Draw (2008–2010)
MMA Most Valuable Fighter (2008–2010)
Guinness World Records
World record: Youngest person to win the WWE Championship (aged 25 years, 44 days)
Inoki Genome Federation
IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)1
New Japan Pro-Wrestling
IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)1
Ohio Valley Wrestling
OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Shelton Benjamin
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Feud of the Year (2003, 2015) vs. Kurt Angle, The Undertaker
Match of the Year (2003) vs. Kurt Angle in an Iron Man match on SmackDown! on September 16
Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (2002)
Wrestler of the Year (2002, 2014)
Ranked No. 1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2003
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Best Brawler (2003)
Best Wrestling Maneuver (2002) F-5
Feud of the Year (2003) vs. Kurt Angle
Most Improved Wrestler (2002, 2003)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2015)
WWE/World Wrestling Entertainment/Federation
WWE Championship2 (4 times)
WWE Universal Championship (1 time, current)
King of the Ring (2002)
Royal Rumble (2003)
Slammy Awards (5 times)
Hashtag of the Year (2015) – #SuplexCity
Match of the Year (2015) – vs The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell
Rivalry of the Year (2015) – vs The Undertaker
"Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That" Moment of the Year (2015) – Coining "Suplex City" at WrestleMania 31
The OMG Shocking Moment of the Year (2014) – Ending The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak at WrestleMania XXX
1 ^ Lesnar's IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign at IGF is considered a continuation of his reign from NJPW.
2 ^ When Lesnar first won the title, it was known as the WWE Undisputed Championship. His next two reigns were as WWE Champion, while his fourth was as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.