UFC 121: The staredown seen 'round the world
It was Oct. 23, 2010, an electric Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. Cain Velasquez dismantled Brock Lesnar with striking that showcased precision that would make Bas Rutten proud to claim the UFC Heavyweight Championship and write his name in history as the first Mexican heavyweight champion at UFC 121.
Some say Velasquez wrote his name in the books with ink. Looking at the Octagon post-fight, it's safe to say it was with Lesnar's blood. It was an incredible moment. Velasquez just defeated the self-proclaimed baddest man on the planet. The Honda Center was electric. Everything turned out just the way UFC President Dana White had wanted it to—great fights, great gate, huge buyrates.
Then, it happened.
AOL Fanhouse's Ariel Helwani, an acclaimed MMA journalist and beloved pro wrestling fan conducted a rare, out of character interview with World Wrestling Entertainment's most elusive superstar, The Undertaker.
What started out as a novel interview due to Taker's er...non-deadness, became infamous. Mark Calaway plays a deadman on WWE television, but that night, he served as the ghost of Lesnar's pro wrestling past—the grueling travel, fantasy, money, and the personal conflicts.
Allow me to present you the most intriguing moment of UFC 121.
Now allow yourself to let what you just viewed to sink in.
There have been many takes on this staredown between former WWE rivals Lesnar and Undertaker. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer and Yahoo Sports reported that WWE had contacted Lesnar regarding a possible bout with Undertaker at WrestleMania 27 in 2011.
Many have said this staredown was a "work" or in English, pre-planned, as in the tension is fake. But that may not be the case.
TNA Wrestling star and former WWE superstar Ken "Mr. Kennedy" Anderson once stated in an interview with The UK Sun that he was honored to have Undertaker allow him to gain credibility during their on-screen feud on Friday Night Smackdown and PPV. It was not just because Undertaker is one of the most respected wrestlers of all-time.
It meant a great deal to Anderson because he had heard that when Undertaker helped take Brock Lesnar in 2002 to new heights by making him Brock Lesnar, the now-ex-UFC Champion promised Taker he would "return the favor."
Well, let's just say he never did. Instead, Lesnar left WWE just two years later, seemingly fed up with the travel, politics, and all the other things that can negate a pro wrestler's enjoyment. Unfortunately for WWE, he left rather abruptly and at the worst possible time—right after their Super Bowl: WrestleMania.
And for those that don't know the story, here's the brief version. In his late 20s, Lesnar tried his hand at the NFL, despite not playing football since high school. He just barely missed the cut with the Minnesota Vikings. Rather than play in the Arena Football League, Lesnar opted to wrestle again.