October 22, 2010
Brock feels 'blessed'New Mr. Nice Champ talks of being role model, even praises opponent
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency
Maybe a near-death experience changes a fella.
A muted Brock Lesnar addressed the media last week ahead of his title defence against Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 Saturday in Anaheim.
The love-to-hate-him heavyweight, who has polarized fans since the first time he stepped into the Octagon, was reserved in his usual arrogance and trash-talking.
Lesnar, who suffered a serious case of diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder that required surgery and put his career in peril, was both gracious and even spoke of being a role model.
"There is responsibility when it comes to being the champion," said Lesnar, 33, who is coming off a title win over Shane Carwin at UFC 116 in August.
"First and foremost, I want to be a great role model to my own kids. And if you do that, then you should be for the other kids to see as well."
The new nice-guy Lesnar said he counts his lucky stars every night.
"I just feel blessed and honoured to be the champion. This is my second chance of reinventing myself," said Lesnar, who has a 5-1 MMA record. "I'm a former amateur wrestler, a former professional wrestler, a wannabe NFL football player. And here I am a UFC heavyweight champion.
"Do I look at it any differently? No. Do I go to bed holding on to my UFC title every night? No.
"I go to bed, I tuck my kids into bed every night. I don't have any added pressure on myself. I'm doing what I love to do. And I've got -- we've got a great fight coming up on October 23rd."
Lesnar, who had a bumpy introduction to the UFC after coming over as a former pro wrestler, even had kind words for Velasquez.
"There's a lot of story behind (the fight)," said Lesnar.
"You've got a young lad whose family moved here from Mexico and this guy wants to make a name for himself. And here I am ... There's a lot of roadblocks being the heavyweight champion.
"And people are trying to stand in front of my title reign. ... Come October 23rd, the best man will have his hand raised."
Velasquez, who is a perfect 8-0 with seven knockouts, says he'll have his hands full with the 6-foot-3 Lesnar, who cuts weight to make the 265-lb. limit.
"I haven't faced anybody with his size, his athletic ability and his power," said Velasquez.
"But I'm in a position that I want to be. The reason I started in this sport was to be in this position. I want to have that belt. All I can do is just train as hard as I can in the gym, give as much as I can.
"I definitely feel confident in my abilities."