Lesnar returns to UFC for heavyweight championship

The former Gophers wrestler will fight Shane Carwin in a match billed as “the most anticipated heavyweight bout in UFC history.”

Brock Lesnar Training Day

Stephen Maturen, Daily File Photo

Brock Lesnar Training Day

by Derek Wetmore

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is relieved to have one of the top fighters in history âÄî Minnesota alumnus Brock Lesnar âÄî back to fight interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin. The two will fight for the title of undisputed heavyweight champion Saturday in a match billed as âÄúthe most anticipated heavyweight bout in UFC history.âÄù âÄúThis is a fight that weâÄôve all been waiting for,âÄù UFC spokeswoman Jen Wenk said, âÄúbecause it will decide who is the greatest heavyweight in the UFC.âÄù Lesnar is just happy to be healthy again, overcoming a bout with diverticulitis âÄî an intestinal inflammation âÄî last winter that left his fighting career in jeopardy. The 6-foot-3-inch 265-pound fighter collapsed at one of his homes in Canada in October after battling what he thought was a case of mononucleosis. He cancelled a scheduled fight with Carwin and increasing stomach pains led to the diverticulitis diagnosis. Lesnar announced his return in January after receiving the OK to begin training and wrestle from several doctors, including those at the Mayo Clinic. âÄúI think the setback for me actually has been a good thing because it allowed me to sit back and really focus on my diet, the way I trained,âÄù Lesnar said in a recent teleconference interview. While Lesnar was out, Carwin beat Frank Mir to become the UFC interim heavyweight champion. Beginning his wrestling career as a junior college national champion, Lesnar transferred to Minnesota where he finished his career with two Big Ten championships and an NCAA Division-I heavyweight championship. The Webster, S.D., native has since wrestled all over the world, most notably for the fictionalized World Wrestling Entertainment âÄî where he was a three-time champion âÄî and UFC. Carwin doesnâÄôt pose the type of grudge match that would have been present had his opponent been Frank Mir . Lesnar said there is no animosity, but rather a mutual respect between the two competitors. âÄúBrock is a big, talented, athletic heavyweight and those are rare to find,âÄù Carwin said. âÄúThese are the [fights that] you remember.âÄù Preparation, perspective For his training, Lesnar has worked with former members of the Gophers wrestling family such as Cole Konrad and Marty Morgan . Morgan was an assistant coach for the Gophers who stepped away this season in order to help Lesnar train. âÄúI believe thatâÄôs what you have to do,âÄù Lesnar said. âÄúYou have to surround yourself with people that are going to push you … You get what you put into it, and IâÄôve put my heart and soul and my whole life into this training camp.âÄù The changes he made werenâÄôt only limited to his training staff and his diet. The condition did something to Brock that few wrestlers heâÄôs come across have been able to do: lay him flat on his back. âÄúYou definitely take a different approach on life,âÄù Lesnar said. âÄúYou realize that thereâÄôs nothing more important in life than your family, and you really find out who your friends are. âÄúIâÄôm excited. The fight is almost here, and itâÄôs just a good day to be alive.âÄù