A bout with what was eventually discovered to be diverticulitis put the baddest man on the MMA planet in a hospital bed and threatened his career.
Ask Brock Lesnar what he missed the most during a nearly one year
layoff due to illness, and he fires back with a typically quick retort.
What follows next is a deep laugh that probably wasn’t heard too
much in the Lesnar household after a bout with what was eventually
discovered to be diverticulitis put the baddest man on the MMA planet
in a hospital bed and threatened his career. But once he recovered and
got back to the business of preparing to defend his heavyweight title,
there was a new Brock Lesnar in town.
“At any moment this could be over and I could be Joe Blow serving
burgers or doing whatever,” he said. “Anything can happen at any given
moment, and I try to live every day to the fullest, and I really don’t
take anything for granted anymore. I never really used to, but this
whole setback for me last November was a hurdle in my life that I guess
God thought I had to overcome to test me and to make sure this is what
I really wanted in my life. There are challenges in your life that are
put before you for certain reasons, and this was one of those times.”
In January, Lesnar made his first public statement since he was
sidelined, and announced that he was back from the illness and ready to
return to active duty. Since then, he likens his return to a train
barreling down the tracks.
“I’ve been kinda like a steam locomotive ever since January 5th,” he
said. “We threw a little coal in the fire, we got the engines going a
little bit, and every week, the locomotive kept building more steam and
building more power, and that’s really what this has been. Everything’s
coming together, and I’ve said this before – the Brock Lesnar now would
annihilate the Brock Lesnar of a year ago. That’s how crazy this is. I
had to have a major setback, and it was almost a good thing. We started
from scratch in January and really built my strength, my core, and I
was able to work on a lot of different things, and I wasn’t under any
pressure. I brought different training partners in and got a different
look from some different coaches. We got this piece of clay, and we
said let’s mold it again.”
Now that’s scary, considering that the first piece of clay won four
of his five pro bouts, won the heavyweight title, avenged his only
defeat, and basically steamrolled everyone in his path. But Lesnar
knows that if you’re not improving, you’re slipping, and while he
didn’t completely change his team, he did revamp it in certain areas,
with key additions to this camp being UFC Hall of Famer and the man
Lesnar beat for the title, Randy Couture, and standout boxing coach
“I looked around across the board and analyzed my life in general,”
said Lesnar, 32. “First of all personally and family wise and then I
analyzed my fight situation. How can I get better? How can I evolve?
What’s stagnant in my training and what are some different things that
I can do? I bumped into Peter in Las Vegas a while ago, (UFC President)
Dana (White) introduced me to him and we hit it off, so I brought him
out here. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna get, wasn’t sure if our
personalities were gonna match, but he came out, it worked out, we got
along great, and more importantly, he’s a great teacher. I learned a
lot of good stuff from him and I wish I had brought him in sooner. I’m
happy with the decision and it’s been great.”
If anything, Lesnar’s standup has been a weak point in his game.
Sure, he has the type of explosive power where one swing of his fist
can drop an opponent or knock him out, but technique wise, he’s far
from where he’d like to be. Add in the fact that a few technical tweaks
can allow him to avoid some incoming fire, and it will be interesting
to see how Lesnar has progressed come Saturday night. But the man most
eager to see and test the ‘new’ Lesnar is the one standing across the
Octagon from him on fight night, interim champion Shane Carwin. Lesnar
has already made his feelings about that interim belt well known, but
what does he see when he looks past that and at the Colorado KO King?
“I just see another opponent,” he quips. “I’m not threatened by anybody in this entire world. He’s knocked a
few trash cans over along the way, he’s a big guy, he’s got some
wrestling ability, but this is my time. This is my era and I just don’t
see him being the guy to take this all away from me.”
In other words, as far as he’s concerned, it’s all about what Brock
does that will determine a victor this weekend, not about what Carwin
does, or beyond that what contenders like Cain Velasquez or Junior Dos
Santos are doing. In fact, he doesn’t even watch the fights.
“I don’t pay attention to anything, I really don’t,” he said. “I
don’t buy pay-per-views, I don’t go on the internet. I live, eat, and
breathe fighting, but it’s all about me. I don’t care about Who’s Who
in Ultimate Fighting, I really don’t.”
And though that may sound strange to some, it’s what Lesnar needs to keep his sanity.
“It’s very important to not get too involved,” he said. “It’s like a
job. It’s part of your life, but you’ve got to realize how to separate
the two. When you go to work, you go to work, and when you leave the
office, you leave the office. I don’t bring the office home with me.”
He’ll have to work this weekend, but that’s okay, because this is
one trip to the office he’s been waiting to make for a long time now.
And to get to this point, it took more than physical work – it required
plenty of mental preparation as well, a task he’s confident will serve
him well on Saturday.
“This six months since January, each week I’ve set goals and I’ve
accomplished a lot of them,” he said. “The some that I didn’t, I got
close to, and we kept it all in perspective. That’s what builds my
confidence – it’s knowing and having belief in my training system, my
coaches, and that’s a self-esteem builder. That’s the preparation. When
the rubber meets the asphalt and you’ve got all these miles in the gym
and you know you’ve put the time and the hard work in, that’s the
preparation and that’s the confidence booster. And knowing and
believing that you are the best in the entire world, and I believe
Brock is back.