A kinder, gentler Brock Lesnar?
Maybe not in the cage, but since a debilitating case of diverticulitis nearly shortened his MMA career, Lesnar has a newfound perspective on the life he has, the family he cherishes, and the title he covets as UFC heavyweight champion.
That perspective has given Lesnar a new outlook on life, and a renewed focus on the things that are important to him. With his upcoming fight with Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, Lesnar is one fight removed from returning after the disease that nearly took his fighting career away, and now he believes he’s ready to take the next step.
“Everything’s in line, I feel right on,” Lesnar said about his preparation for Velasquez. “I’m as lean as I’ve ever been. Guys say they’ve had good camps. I can go back and say every camp has been my best camp, but I really think so (this has been the best camp).
“I’ve gotten better and better. I really don’t think I’m still the best that I can be, but Oct. 23, on that night, I’ll be the best.”
Spending much of his life traveling all over the world as a feature performer for World Wrestling Entertainment, Lesnar had enough of the plane rides and time away from his wife and three children. Lesnar opened up his own training facility in his hometown of Alexandria, Minn., and brings in his coaches and training partners to help him prepare for his fights.
“I believe in my coaching staff. If I need to reach out and excel in other areas, I’ve got my own facility here,” Lesnar stated. “I’ve traveled the world. I’ve been to all 50 states 100 times. I’ve been to 30 different countries. I’ve lived life on the road. I live here, I train here, and that’s how I choose to train.
“If I need somebody they normally come to my house and I don’t need to get on an airplane and be away from my family. Been there, done that, you know?”
For his training camp in Minnesota, Lesnar has worked with head coach Marty Morgan, as well as coaches like Erik Paulson, and training partners including UFC heavyweights Jon Madsen and Chris Tuchscherer. Lesnar said he was willing to seek out the best training partners, so he also brought in someone to help him with his striking… former K-1 fighter turned UFC heavyweight Pat Barry.
“I needed guys that were exceptionally well on their feet and that could bring in a different look,” Lesnar explained. “I’ve got a group, a standard core of wrestlers in here, and so we searched around for guys, for a different look, and Pat was the guy. (He’s) been a great addition to the camp.”
One of the biggest factors going into the fight with Velasquez has been the former Arizona State All-American’s unbelievable cardio and conditioning. As a heavyweight, Velasquez is considered a peak performer when it comes to his condition for a fight, and while Lesnar has gone three rounds before in his career, it’s still somewhat of a question for him headed into this championship bout of five five-minute rounds.
Lesnar promises that while his fight with Shane Carwin didn’t go nearly as long as five rounds, he’s prepared for that fight and every fight with the intention of going until the final bell sounds.
“I didn’t train for Shane Carwin for seven minutes, I trained for a 25-minute fight,” he said. “I’m prepared for 25 minutes of battle, and that’s what you’ve got to be prepared for. You’ve got to take responsibility. If there’s one thing that I’m in control of on Oct. 23, it’s my conditioning.”
With just a few days remaining until the fight, Lesnar may be the biggest figure in the UFC. He may be the face of the entire organization. But when you’ve sat in a hospital bed and had someone tell you that it could all be taken away, everything is narrowed into a whole new focus.
Lesnar loves being UFC heavyweight champion. He loves being known as the best fighter in his weight class worldwide. He also knows how hard he had to work to get there, and how close he came to having it all taken away.
“I just feel blessed and honored to be the champion. This is my second chance of reinventing myself,” Lesnar said. “I’m a former amateur wrestler, a former professional wrestler, a wanna-be NFL football player, and here I am, UFC heavyweight champion.
“Do I look at it any differently? No. Do I go to bed holding on to my UFC title every night? No. I tuck my kids into bed every night. I don’t have any added pressure on myself. I’m doing what I love to do.”
Lesnar will have the chance to do his job one more time when he squares off with Cain Velasquez in the main event of UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday night.