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Despite surgery, Brock Lesnar is prepared for his 2012 return to UFC

June 10, 2011 |  2:44 pm

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar could've given the organization one of its richest pay-per-views to date Saturday in Vancouver.

Fabforum Not only is the ex-WWE star the UFC's biggest draw, he spent a full season hyping the event as a coach on the organization's reality television series, "The Ultimate Fighter."

Lesnar was to fight once-beaten heavyweight Junior Dos Santos, who will instead headline Saturday's Vancouver card (UFC 131) versus Lesnar's former title challenger Shane Carwin.

In May, the intestinal disease diverticulitis that previously sidelined Lesnar struck again, this time forcing him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for surgery that UFC officials said resulted in the removal of 12 inches of Lesnar's colon.

At the time, UFC President Dana White said he was hopeful Lesnar could return to fighting in early 2012. On Friday,  UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta told The Times  he doesn't know how long Lesnar will be sidelined but expects him to return in 2012.

Fertitta said Lesnar still has "a lot" of fights remaining on his UFC contract, and with the addition of the Strikeforce stable of heavyweights coming to the UFC via the organizations' merger -- plus an anticipated rematch against UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez -- Lesnar is positioned to play a significant role in UFC's deepest division.


UFC 130: Rampage Jackson defeats Matt Hamill

Brock Lesnar forced out of UFC 131 because of diverticulitis


-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Brock Lesnar. Credit: Eric Jamison / Associated Press.