UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is fresh off of the biggest fight of his career: a two round affair that saw him absolutely pummeled in the first round by a motivated Shane Carwin only to come back and steal the fight with a second round submission. Now, Lesnar is staring ahead to his next title defense which will come against top prospect Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 on October 23rd at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The man who helped Lesnar stay champion in his last fight, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu coach Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros, recently spoke with Sherdog.com to explain why he and his charge will have to prepare even harder to take on Velasquez.
“Cain Velasquez is a great fighter; he has a great level of Muay Thai and wrestling,” Medeiros said. “I’m confident in Brock, and I think he’s the best heavyweight in the world. We’ll outline a strategy, make a plan and train, and I’m sure we’ll win this challenge. It’s a big challenge. Velasquez is an excellent athlete.”
Medeiros told Sherdog that the success Lesnar currently enjoys has come about due to a well-balanced mix of coaching; “Comprido” believes that Lesnar was able to survive Carwin’s early onslaught, secure the takedown and land the fight-ending arm triangle only because he had trained diligently in all areas of mixed martial arts.
“The important thing is teamwork,” said “Comprido”. “Don’t forget that if he had not trained his boxing, perhaps he could not have withstood such punishment. If the guy’s wrestling wasn’t there, he could not have taken down his opponent and would not have had the opportunity. It’s teamwork.”
Most know Brock Lesnar, the fighter, more for his brutal ground and pound and top control wrestling than for his submission finesse but Medeiros saw that Lesnar’s stifling ground control would benefit well from the addition of submissions. As Lesnar mentioned in the UFC 116 post-fight presser, the submission that netted him the victory over Carwin was a move that “Comprido” taught him based on his belief that it would fit perfectly into his fighting style; “Comprido” acknowledges that he knew the move would work well for Lesnar but gives more credit to Lesnar himself for his dedication to training.
“This time, he made the training camp a little longer, with some intervals,” Medeiros said. “The camp typically lasts two months, but he made it four months. I thought this position would marry well with his game. It’s a position I’ve been practicing a lot with students in my gym in Chicago.”
“First, he changed his eating habits and became a lighter but much stronger fighter,” Medeiros added. “Second, he recognized that he could change his lifestyle. This gave him the motivation to continue fighting and seek new challenges. I think it all came together in his head when he was being punished by Shane Carwin.”
“Comprido” then gave his respect to Shane Carwin who he believes was a great challenge in his own right.
“Shane is a great opponent,” he added. “He has an impeccable record and defeated great fighters like Gabriel Gonzaga and Frank Mir. It was a great challenge and a great victory.”
Much was made of Lesnar’s perceived change in attitude, especially post-fight. Known for reverting to his days as a pro-wrestling heels upon defeating an opponent, Lesnar instead did his best to stay humble and give credit where it was due, to his family, his coaches, and Shane Carwin. Medeiros told Sherdog that Lesnar is often misunderstood by the MMA media and indicated that the more pleasant Lesnar we witnessed at UFC 116 is a more accurate example of the champ’s true personality.
“Brock Lesnar is a 260-pound UFC champion,” he said. “He doesn’t need anyone to defend him, and I’m not defending him because I train him. I can only speak about what I see, and I don’t relate to people with bad character. Brock is a very respectful guy. He’s a great person and very attentive. He’s attentive to the team, cares about everyone and always asks us what we need. He doesn’t like to talk to the press and has reservations about the way the public perceives him, as would anyone. When you’re with your family, you don’t want anyone sticking a camera in your son’s face. At the time of a fight, you don’t want to stop and talk or give autographs. People have to understand that.”
Lesnar will not have much time to rest on the heels of his huge win over Shane Carwin and Medeiros’ assessment of Velasquez as “a big challenge” is spot on; Lesnar will certainly have his hands full with the AKA standout but has increased his chances of winning greatly by enlisting the help of coaches whom he respects and, in turn, care about him and the success of his career.