(“What you don’t seem to understand, *Pat*, is that our reliance on Lockean liberalism is precisely what’s allowed America to live under this guise of exceptionality that leads us to deny our own history in the name of social order. Look, go read some Louis Hartz and then we’ll talk.” PicProps: @DCBrockLesnar)
Those of you who’ve been keeping up with “UFC Primetime” have likely already noticed two things: 1) Visiting sparring partner Pat Barry is far and away the most engaging and interesting (read: smartest) personality inside Brock Lesnar’s DeathClutch gym. 2) Yeah, it’s a little weird for Barry to be training with Lesnar leading up to his UFC 121 clash with Cain Velasquez. Somehow I just don’t see those two guys having compatible personalities. Nonetheless, Barry’s status as an invited guest at DeathClutch is another clear indicator that The Dark Lord is making an effort to get his leather together in the striking department. That endeavor, according to a recent article in the Boston Herald, has also included a second straight training camp with noted boxing coach Peter Welch.
“I never learned just the basics in boxing,” Lesnar explains. “I wanted to go get a grassroots boxing coach to get my feet underneath me, to try to combine my wrestling positions and mold into a boxing stance, and just lower myself and learn to punch from my feet to my hands. And so he’s been a huge help — just being able to understand the fundamentals of punching.”
Also, this is yet another situation that underscores how totally awesome it is to be Brock Lesnar. Here’s a guy who was already UFC heavyweight champion by the time he thought to himself, “Hey, you know what? I should learn a little bit of this crazy boxing stuff that everybody else is doing.” Must be nice.
That’s the glass-half-full outlook, I suppose. The glass-half-empty point of view, of course, is that Lesnar looked so unbelievably shitty on his feet against Shane Carwin at UFC 116 that be better take steps to shore up his striking game. Otherwise some axe-grinding internet blogger might suggest on his for-profit website that the only thing Velasquez will have to do to win this fight is stuff a couple of Lesnar’s takedowns.
Though it might seem counterintuitive, Lesnar tells that Herald that he actually gained self-confidence after weathering the storm from Carwin and coming back to win by arm triangle choke early in the second round. At least we know now that the champ’s got a pretty decent beard on him (yes, nerdy pun totally intended).
“I think it’s just a confidence thing,” Lesnar said. “You bang around in the gym and you’ve got 18, 20 ounce gloves on and you can take a punch in the gym, but up until the Carwin fight . . . there was always some question mark in my mind, I guess.”
Speaking of stuffing takedowns, it seems interesting that – according to WWE announcer/exec and total Lesnar mark Jim Ross, by way of our friends at Bloody Elbow – Lesnar has already slimmed down to 265 for this bout. That means he won’t have to cut any weight, but he also won’t enjoy the monster weight advantage over Velasquez we were anticipating. It appears now that when Cain and Brock get in the cage together, Lesnar will likely outweigh him by 20-25 pound instead of closer to 30-40.
Naturally, Ross assures us that coming in a bit lighter than normal won’t have a single negative consequence for Lesnar.
“I see this as good for Lesnar fans because already being at the required fighting weight will prevent Brock from having to tweak his diet or training regime prior to the fight in Anaheim,” Ross says. “Even though Lesnar will fight lighter than he originally fought in UFC, the former WWE Champion, NCAA All American and National Champion is still beastly strong which could be a key factor in his next encounter in the Octagon. Point is that Lesnar has lost no strength with his lesser weight plus Brock’s cardio, one would assume, will be enhanced by not having to carry so much mass."
Hmmmm. I guess. Maybe. Still, if I were a Lesnar fan who believed the key to this fight would be Brock’s ability to put Velasquez on his back, I wouldn’t feel great about trading that size advantage for some assumed gains in speed and possibly cardio, which had never been a problem for Brock in the past anyway. Will it matter? Guess we’ll find out. File this latest development alongside the growing list of unknowns that already make this bout too close to call.