UFC’s Brock Lesnar has sights set on another successful title defense
Brock Lesnar, Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight champ, likes to keep things simple.
When he was World Wrestling Entertainment’s “champion,” he was continually uprooted from his Minnesota home for matches, found his body abused by the rigors of the road and was unhappy. Four years into the grind, he quit.
Being UFC’s heavyweight champion fits his pace.
“Train, sleep, family, fight — I’m pretty basic,” Lesnar, 33, said.
Hunting is part of his routine too, which he’ll get to next week in Canada after his UFC title bout Saturday night at Anaheim’s Honda Center against unbeaten challenger Cain Velasquez (8-0).
“Mule deer and white-tailed deer,” Lesnar said of his upcoming targets. “I’ve been hunting all my life. I just enjoy the outdoors, harvesting an animal. It’s in my bloodline, my DNA. Hunting, fighting. I don’t mind being simple in life now. That’s what I want.”
Lesnar (5-1) acknowledges that he has a simple plan for how to beat Velasquez, as well, by exerting his size and weight advantage over the 28-year-old challenger, who’s trying to become the first mixed martial arts fighter of Mexican origin to claim a heavyweight title.
“Absolutely, I want to control this fight in every aspect,” Lesnar said. “My size is how I win this fight.”
Lesnar is 6 feet-3 1/2 and weighed in at 264 pounds. Velasquez is 6-1 and 244.
But Velasquez, less than a 2-to-1 underdog, is hoping for a big strike like the one Lesnar’s July challenger, Shane Carwin, landed in a dramatic first round when Carwin dropped the champion to the canvas. Lesnar survived, however, and winked and smiled at Carwin between rounds; Lesnar then submitted him by an arm triangle chokehold in the second round.
“Now, that was an uncomfortable position,” Lesnar cracked at a news conference this week. “I was in danger. Anyone who gets down and gets back up like that, it’s a character builder. If you never trip and fall, you never get better.”
Velasquez’s other strategy to win is knowing that a championship fight can last 25 minutes and that he can rely on his cardiovascular fitness in a long fight. It’s a skill the San Jose resident said he called upon frequently while at Arizona State when he wrestled bigger opponents.
“All I hear about is Cain Velasquez’s conditioning,” Lesnar said. “You’ve got to be prepared to go 25 minutes. It’d be unprofessional of me to not be ready for that.”
Velasquez’s title pursuit, buoyed by his second-round technical knockout of the larger Ben Rothwell at Staples Center in October 2009 and a first-round knockout of former heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in February, accelerated Lesnar’s return to the octagon only four months after his Carwin triumph.
The UFC 121 card also features the welterweight debut of former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields versus Martin Kampmann and a light-heavyweight fight between Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz and Matt Hamill.
Lesnar’s ability to drive pay-per-view buys and ticket sales — UFC President Dana White said a sellout is expected in Anaheim — along with his conquest of Carwin clinched the UFC poster boy’s involvement in another title bout.
“I wasn’t overly excited,” Lesnar said of his brief one-week layoff, followed by a 14-week-long training camp in Minnesota. “But it’s worked out well. … I love this. I’m so glad there’s a UFC. If there wasn’t, I don’t know what I’d be doing myself.”
Sure, he does. It’s why he has grown a beard. The hunting season is cold in Canada.
One more head to hang on his UFC mantel, and he’ll be on his way.