Wrestling superstar Brock Lesnar has retired from the UFC, according to president Dana White.
The bombshell news comes after Lesnar’s WWE future was also thrown into disarray following his shock loss to Seth Rollins at WrestleMania in April, where he surrendered his Universal Championship title.
The 41-year-old was reportedly preparing to make his return to the Octagon this year following his storm off at WrestleMania — but a dream heavyweight title showdown between Lesnar and champion Daniel Cormier is now dead in the water, according to White.
“He told me he’s done, he’s retired,” White told ESPN.
“We’re going to move in another direction with Cormier.”
White’s revelation has prompted reports the MMA powerhouse is now targeting a re-match between former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and Cormier for the UFC 241 card that was originally designed to be headlined by Lesnar’s return to the Octagon to fight Cormier on August 18.
It is a crushing blow to the UFC, with a Lesnar-Cormier showdown widely tipped to be the biggest-selling pay-per-view of 2019.
It is a stunning backflip from Lesnar, after he was widely tipped to turn his focus back to the UFC following recent reports he has allowed his WWE contract to expire following his WrestleMania appearance.
Lesnar even appeared in a stunt for the UFC in July where he stormed the Octagon following Cormier’s stoppage of Miocic at UFC 226 where the American became a two-division world champion.
All of those plans are now up in smoke.
It was only eight weeks ago that White declared Cormier would get the fight against Lesnar when the WWE star returns.
“I think Brock and Cormier want that fight,” White said in March.
“I owe Cormier a lot. Cormier wants that fight, so Cormier’s going to get it.”
Meanwhile, ESPN reports Miocic has agreed to fight Cormier, after begging for a chance to win back the belt Cormier famously took from him via a stunning knockout.
“I’m ready,” Miocic told ESPN.
“I’ve been ready. And I’m going to take back what’s mine.”
Lesnar hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2016 when he stopped Mark Hunt before the result was later changed to a no contest after Lesnar was found to have tested positive for a banned substance.
He is still yet to complete the 12-month ban he received for testing positive and it remains unclear if he has returned to the UFC drug testing program.
It means the UFC is now without its three biggest stars after Ronda Rousey quit to join the WWE and Conor McGregor cheekily announced his retirement from MMA.
White’s announcement was met with mixed reactions from UFC commentators.