I’d never watched any of the ‘ultimate fighting’ stuff, bar a little in a pub once. It looked very boring to me. I’m a big WWE fan – as silly as it is, I am hugely entertained by that. At the weekend I saw an ad for the next big Ultimate Fighting Championship event, and the main match seemed to be a world title fight between someone called Randy Couture (who inexplicably seems not to have a line of clothing to promote) and Brock Lesnar, who used to be in the WWE. This intrigued me: fans of UFC will often regard the WWE superstars with contempt. Obviously it’s all fixed, and the wrestlers help sell their opponents’ moves to a very blatant degree, so those who dislike the WWE deduce from this that the stars are just showy bodybuilders with gimmicks, and wouldn’t last five minutes in a fight with, for instance, a top ultimate fighter. (A couple of top ultimate fighters had tried their hand in the WWE, but never amounted to much as far as I am aware – obviously it demands somewhat different physical skills, and to get to the top it helps to have some sort of distinct personal style too, of course.)

Couture, I soon found out, is the top man: the only five-time world champ, already in their Hall of Fame and so on. He has legitimate claims to be the greatest ever. But it was always clear, in the WWE, that Lesnar was an impressive athlete: big and very strong, extraordinarily athletic and quick for someone his size, and skillful too – he’d been a champion amateur wrestler. Then again, UFC fighting, it became clear when watching the rest of the card, does not resemble either amateur or professional wrestling. There is some grappling, and the occasional submission (never with as fancy a move as the WWE stars offer), but mostly when you get someone on the floor the purpose is to get in position to punch or elbow him in the head repeatedly. A lot of it is done standing up, more like boxing – Couture was some kind of martial arts champion, so that was his speciality. Also, Lesnar had had a total of three fights in the UFC before this big title match.

Their match was scheduled for five five-minute rounds. The first featured lots of wrestling, Lesnar on top, looking for openings, not finding any. He’d have won them on points, but no one was damaged. The opinion was that Lesnar, carrying something like 50 pounds more weight, would tire quickly as the match continued. The second round was quite different, a boxing match. After a couple of minutes, Lesnar landed a heavy punch to the side of Couture’s head, Couture went down, Lesnar climbed on and started hammering fists into his head and the ref stopped it.

It was barely a contest – Lesnar never looked in any kind of trouble at all, and it didn’t last a third of the scheduled time. I was pleased, in that this severely damages the “they wouldn’t last five minutes…” line, and it confirms my repeated claims that many (though certainly not all) of the biggest WWE stars are genuinely great athletes.