Story by Anthony Springer, Jr.
One year ago, Brock Lesnar (4-1, 3-1 UFC) wasn’t sure if he’d ever fight again.
After pulling out of a headlining bout against current interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin (12-0, 5-0 UFC) last November with what was thought to be the flu, Lesnar thought nothing of the temporary setback.
The world of MMA kept spinning.
Lesnar’s world came to a grinding halt.
The diagnosis was much more than a strain of influenza. Lesnar was diagnosed with diverticulitis, a potentially life threatening illness. Lesnar lost 50 pounds during his bout with the condition and appeared similar in stature to UFC president Dana White in January when he announced his return to the Octagon.
After nearly a year away from action, Lesnar returns this weekend to face Carwin at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in UFC 116’s main event.
The long layoff left many lingering questions surrounding Lesnar’s return. When you’re the heavyweight champion, there are no “tune up” fights to get back into the fighting spirit. According to Lesnar, he didn’t need one anyway.
“I’ve had about 40 tune up fights in the last eight weeks in training camp,” Lesnar recently explained on a conference call.
The bout with Carwin also marks the first time Lesnar will be fighting someone his own size. Lesnar’s previous opponents—Frank Mir, Heath Herring and Randy Couture—gave up anywhere from 10-40 pounds to the former WWE superstar. That won’t be the case with Carwin, who also tips the scales at 265 pounds.
In fact, Carwin may be the larger man on fight night.
“I’m right on weight,” said Lesnar, who typically cuts 20 pounds to make the 265 pound limit. “I’m 265 pounds right now.”
Since entering the sport, Lesnar has been the center of attention. His four UFC fights have all been the headlining or co-headlining bout—Carwin has one to his name—a first round victory over Frank Mir.
“There have been no easy fights for me,” Lesnar explains before highlighting the differences between himself and Carwin. “Shane poses some different threats, one being the size, strength and wrestling. [He’s] is heavy handed and a [NCAA] Division Two national champion wrestler. He’s got 12 fights. I took a different route; I got thrown to the wolves right away and had big fights right away. Every fights a big fight and that’s what I prepare for.”
Though Lesnar will be staring at a mirror image of himself come in Carwin, he believes he holds a significant advantage in two key areas: big fight experience and ability.
“I gotta go back to my athleticism,” he continues. “The things I’ve accomplished in my life. I don’t get nervous, I’ve been around the block, been in the spotlight, been the main event on a lot of pay-per-views. You get what you put into it and I’ve put my heart and soul into this training camp.
“He’s a little better looking than I am. I’ll give that to him, but that’s about it.”
Though Lesnar can’t predict the outcome of the fight, he’s certain of one thing.
“Anywhere this fight goes, it’s going to be exciting.”
UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin airs live on pay-per-view this Saturday at 7 p.m. PST.