Brock Lesnar is currently training for an upcoming fight against a yet to be revealed opponent at UFC 81. He took time out from training recently to sit down and field a few question from Andrew Falzon of ESPN.com:
AF: You have an extensive amateur wrestling background. What new skills are you incorporating into your game?
BL: Combat submission wrestling and jiu-jitsu; I’m also working on my stand-up game like boxing, punching and muay thai. Today’s fighter has to be well-rounded. I’ve said it numerous times: I can’t rely solely on my wrestling skills. This is a sport where you have to be well-rounded in just about everything.
AF: In an earlier interview you said you’d like to fight Couture and Fedor Emelianenko. Is that something you’d still like to explore?
BL: Back when I made those statements, Couture was the UFC champion and Emelianenko was in talks with the UFC. So right now, I’m going to take it one fight at a time and work my way up to becoming the UFC heavyweight champion.
AF: Will fans see a more well-rounded Lesnar than the “ground-and-pound” fighter that defeated Min Soo Kim?
BL: I don’t know what’s going to happen. Every fight is different and each opponent is different. The opportunity that Kim gave me was he offered me a leg. I took him down, mounted him and ended it with punches. I just want to be prepared that if he offers me an arm, to submit him in that area or if we stay on our feet, to throw a knockout punch.
AF: What has the transition from pro wrestling to MMA been like, with pro wrestling being scripted and MMA being legitimate competition?
BL: Well, it hasn’t been much different. My grass roots is wrestling. I’m used to the competitive side of things. I treated my pro wrestling matches as a competition as well. I think that’s what separated me from a lot of different guys. A lot of guys I worked against had probably never even been in a fight or a competitive sport other than football. Other than Kurt Angle and a few other guys.
AF: You’ve said that you feel there’s a “dark cloud” over your head because of your pro wrestling background. Do you think that cloud still exists?
BL: Absolutely; I think there’s still my mystique involved in whether I can fight or not. That’s why I’m eager to get up on the big stage and prove myself in the UFC. Having said that, I’m sure I’ll pull some people in to become fans for the UFC. The pro wrestling fans are going to be able to watch. I’m trying to do all the right things to prepare myself to become a UFC champion.
AF: What do you say to fans who think you’re in over your head?
BL: Sit back and wait to be proven wrong. This is very serious for me. People don’t really understand that yes, I was a pro wrestler. But I was also an NCAA champion and I’ve been training MMA for almost two years now. It’s no different than these other guys who have been training jiu-jitsu for 10 years and decide to get in the fight game. I was an amateur wrester for 18 years. Why wouldn’t I qualify for this?
AF: Back in your WWE days, you were nicknamed the Next Big Thing. The UFC is hoping that you’ll be just that. Will you be announced as the Next Big Thing in the Octagon?
BL: No, it’s just Brock Lesnar from now on.