Brock Lesnar punishes Mark Hunt in victorious return to the UFC

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LAS VEGAS -- The beast is officially back.

Brock Lesnar returned from a five year mixed-martial arts hiatus and earned a unanimous decision victory over former title contender Mark Hunt at UFC 200 Saturday night.

Lesnar announced that he was returning to the UFC just a few weeks earlier and was matched up with Hunt as part of the biggest card of the year.

Since retiring in 2011, Lesnar has said that his exit has haunted him, especially since a crippling bout with diverticulitis forced him to sit on the sidelines for a huge part of his career.

It looks as though the 38-year-old made a good decision to return, picking up a win over top-10 heavyweight Hunt in the co-main event at UFC 200.

Though Lesnar didn't come charging at Hunt to start the fight as so many expected. Instead, he sat back and waited for the perfect opening to look for a takedown.

Once he finally planted Hunt on the mat with a massive slam, it was vintage Lesnar as he started punching away at Hunt while pressing down the veteran kickboxer with his massive frame.

Lesnar ended the first round in the mount with punches raining down at Hunt. But as the second round got underway, his takedowns weren't quite as effective. When Hunt started working his sprawl and got away from several single leg takedown attempts from Lesnar, it looked like the former heavyweight king was getting a little winded.

But Hunt really couldn't take advantage of the opening, although it appeared he won the second round by landing a few more offensive shots.

As the third round started, Lesnar was once again sitting back and waiting until he finally exploded forward in another takedown and got Hunt down to the mat. Not only did Lesnar take Hunt down, he had him stuck against the cage -- and that's where the massive heavyweight really started to pour on the punishment.

Lesnar was relentless with his pressure, putting all of his weight on Hunt's chest and punching away at his head in an attempt to get a stoppage. Hunt was able to move enough to avoid being finished, but as the final round horn sounded, it was clear that Lesnar had done enough to get the win.

An emotionally-charged Lesnar was grateful in victory as the judges all returned scores of 29-27, giving the former heavyweight champion his first win inside the Octagon since defeating Shane Carwin at UFC 116 in 2010.

"It took me a little while to get acclimated. Words can't describe it. Thank you everybody. Thank you so much," Lesnar said.

It was a long road back for Lesnar, but it's hard to imagine he'll be satisfied with just one fight back in the UFC after this victory. Lesnar teased all week long that he was undecided about his fighting future. But considering his win over Hunt, he might just be ready for another top 10 heavyweight inside the Octagon.

Lesnar also dedicated his fight to the United States military before making a statement to the Las Vegas crowd and the millions watching around the world after a tragic few days.

"From one white boy to all nationalities, we've got to stand together people," Lesnar said before leaving the Octagon.