Carwin can't see eye to eye with Lesnar

Brock Lesnar will meet Shane Carwin in the main event at UFC 116 Saturday in Las vegas. (UFC Photo)

Brock Lesnar will meet Shane Carwin in the main event at UFC 116 Saturday in Las vegas. (UFC Photo)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

LAS VEGAS -- Brock Lesnar's antics following his win over Frank Mir at UFC 100 are now legendary.

After turning Mir's face into mush with nasty ground-and-pound, the UFC heavyweight champion yelled in his opponent's face, insulted sponsor Bud Light, commented on having sex with his wife and extended both middle fingers directly at the booing fans in attendance.

The latter angered current interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin, who immediately posted a response on his blog.

"The flipping off of the fans that just lined your pocket with millions of dollars is just lame," Carwin wrote. "He may be a champion but he has a long ways to go before he earns the respect of a champion. The fans are why we do this Brock, this sport is not about fat paychecks and drama it is about hard work and sacrifice for a shot to do what you did last night."

One year later, the two fighters will get to settle their differences in the UFC 116 headline bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday.

Undefeated Carwin (12-0) admits he hates Lesnar's (4-1) personality.

"I compare it to the work world," Carwin began. "We all work with people we dislike and people we like a lot. And Brock's attitude -- I don't care much for how he treats people. It's disrespectful."

A former NCAA Division II wrestling champion with heavy hands and much-improved striking technique, Carwin's unblemished record is all the more impressive considering that none of his opponents have made it to the second round. He also keeps a full-time job as an engineer.

Carwin admits part of him would like his fight with Lesnar to go into the later rounds. He's tired of people questioning his conditioning.

"Frankly, I'd be happy it goes longer because then I can stop answering these first-round questions," Carwin said. "All the first-round stoppages -- I don't think about them. I don't think about my undefeated record. In the sport of MMA, there's room for little or no errors and anything can happen in there when you put four-ounce gloves on. I understand that and I accept it -- it's part of my love of this sport."

With his wrestling pedigree and size, many feel Carwin is the only heavyweight in the UFC who can match up with Lesnar, who has physical qualities unlike any other. However, Lesnar, a former Division I wrestling champion, feels Carwin's attributes are all hype.

"It's you guys (the media) making these comparisons," Lesnar said. "I just don't see it. He hasn't done the things I've done. He's trying to, but I just don't see it."

Lesnar, who recovered from a serious intestinal disorder that almost ended his career, said too much is being made of Carwin's striking ability. The heavyweight champion even let slip that he would be fighting in a southpaw stance to benefit his wrestling.

"I probably messed up and spoke too soon on that," Lesnar said. "When I got the green light to go to the gym and work out, I had to sit back and analyze my whole life. And in the pursuit to greatness in this sport, you have to evolve. I didn't just take a back seat.

"I approached this as a new chapter in my life. I want to go down as the greatest heavyweight in the world."

Mir (13-5) is the only opponent the two have in common.

Lesnar has split his two fights with the former UFC heavyweight champion, submitting to a kneebar at UFC 81 and then rebounding for a TKO win at UFC 100. Carwin, on the other hand, knocked Mir out cold with a vicious barrage of punches at UFC 111.

Lesnar, though, admitted he wasn't particularly impressed with Carwin's victory.

"No, not really," Lesnar said. "I mean, Mir shouldn't have even been fighting then. You can't unscramble scrambled eggs. I scrambled his eggs six months before that."

UFC 116 will feature a co-main event between Japanese MMA star Yoshihio Akiyama and Chris (The Crippler) Leben.

Akiyama (13-1, 2 NC) was originally scheduled to face PRIDE legend Wanderlei (The Axe Murderer) Silva. However, Silva (33-10-1, 1 NC) was forced to bow out two weeks ago due to broken ribs.

Though he almost chose not to face Leben (20-6), Akiyama said he respects his opponent as a fighter.

"I think he's a tough fighter with a lot of heart," Akiyama said through his translator. "(He's) very well known for his left hook and is a very well-rounded fighter."

Leben fought just two weeks ago, defeating Aaron (A-Train) Simpson via TKO at The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Finale on June 19. He said he was honoured to be chosen to replace Silva.

"They gave me a huge opportunity by calling me and I'm extremely thankful," Leben said. "I think part of the reason I was their choice was, yeah, I've won some and lost some, but every time I get in there, you guys know you're going to have a show."

UFC president Dana White said Leben was a natural choice to replace Silva.

"I thought Leben looked awesome in his last fight," White said. "He was in great shape, he looked good and I knew he was healthy."

Leben said he took almost no time off before preparing for Akiyama.

"I fought on Saturday night and caught a red-eye flight back to Hawaii," Leben said. "Had a large pizza and watched a movie on Sunday. I woke up Monday morning, Joe (Silva) was on my phone and then I was in the gym Monday. So not much time off. They didn't even give me a chance to go out and get in trouble."

Leben said he isn't worried about the short turnover period. He almost never trains for an opponent's specific strengths.

"My job is to impose my will on my opponent, not to train for what he's going to do," Leben said. "My game plan for pretty much all my fights stays the same: punch him in the face."

Also on the main card, Winnipeg's Krzysztof (The Polish Experiment) Soszynski faces Stephan (The American Psycho) Bonnar for the second time.

The two fought in a controversial bout at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia. The fight was called off in the third round after an accidental head-butt opened a large gash on Bonnar's forehead. As a result, Soszynski (21-9-1) was awarded the TKO victory.

Bonnar (11-7) appealed the decision to the Combat Sports Authority of New South Wales, which was tasked with overseeing UFC 110, but was shut down.

Rounding out the pay-per-view broadcast, grappling specialists George Sotiropoulos and Kurt (Batman) Pellegrino square off. Also, Chris (Lights Out) Lytle meets Matt (The Immortal) Brown.

Full UFC 116 card:

Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben

Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Stephan Bonnar

George Sotiropoulos vs. Kurt Pellegrino

Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer

Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero

Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic

Gerald Harris vs. Dave Branch

Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz

Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola


Photos