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Opinion: Before Brock Lesnar, there was Dan Severn

UFC 200 - Open Workouts
Brock Lesnar - Returning to the octagon

In 2008, a man named Brock Lesnar stepped into the octagon for the first time. He looked to be the favourite in the fight. However, he was defeated by a smaller competitor, in Frank Mir.

Re-rewind to 1994 and Dan Severn suffered the same fate against the much smaller Royce Gracie in the final of the UFC 4 tournament.

Other than the fact that both men were given the "Beast" nickname, there are several other similarities between Lesnar and Severn's respective careers.

Despite defeats on their first UFC events, both men made a splash in UFC. Severn smashed through the competition at UFC 4 before encountering Gracie, and Lesnar dominated Mir before a moment of carelessness allowed the veteran to lock in a heel hook submission.

Severn's first title match in UFC came at his third UFC event at UFC 6 in the super-fight versus Ken Shamrock. Severn would lose this match-up, but win a re-match with the 'World's Most Dangerous Man' at UFC 9, to claim the only non-tournament Championship of his UFC career.

Lesnar's first UFC title match also came in his third UFC event as he challenged UFC Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture at UFC 91. Lesnar overwhelmed Couture to become UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Despite the great impact both men achieved in the UFC, Lesnar and Severn's careers inside the octagon were relatively short. Severn had 12 matches in the promotion across just six events, whereas Lesnar contested nine fights across nine events.

Both men had relatively short but hugely successful careers in the UFC, and also both wrestled for the WWF/E. This is where both men's careers finally diverge however.

Severn arrived in the WWF in 1998, following Wrestlemania 14 at the height of the company's famed Attitude Era. In a company, boasting such charismatic, colourful stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kane, The Undertaker and Triple H, etc, Severn just didn't fit in. He soon left the following year, never having made an impact in the promotion.

In stark contrast, Lesnar's path in the WWF was the most rapidly successful in company history.

Enter 
Dan Severn - The original "Beast"

Lesnar cut through the roster, winning the King of the Ring tournament, three months after his debut, then two months later - defeated seven-time WWE Champion, The Rock to win the WWE Championship. From rookie to World Champion in five months, the ascent was incredible.

Lesnar would win four more World titles in WWE across two spells in the company, and is currently, the reigning Universal Champion, heading into SummerSlam. Lesnar's two spells in WWE have spanned eight years.

Through all the similarities between the two men, it is Severn who unquestionably has the more impressive MMA record, with 101 wins, 19 defeats and seven draws compared to Lesnar's much more modest five wins, three defeats and one no-contest.

However, Lesnar is unquestionably the much bigger global star, thanks to his UFC and WWE exposure, and owing to his far greater charisma as the biggest draw in the history of both sports. Lesnar's impending return to the octagon could enhance that status further.

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Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.
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