Brock Lesnar Proves He Has the Heart of a Real Champion

Luke TaylorCorrespondent IIJuly 8, 2010

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar reacts after knocking out Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

As a bloodied and bruised Brock Lesnar confidently looked across the cage at Shane Carwin, he gave a little smile to his rival. Carwin winked back. The two touched gloves, and Lesnar set about producing one of the most unlikely comeback victories in the history of MMA.


Throughout the first round of their UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Title fight, Lesnar was dominated. Dropped early in the round by his heavy-handed opponent, Lesnar spent the rest of the fight on his back.


Shane Carwin smelled blood, and set about the task of converting his interim heavyweight title belt into the real deal.


At ringside, Brock Lesnar’s wife was close to tears as she sat with her head in her hands, unable to watch as Carwin continued to dish out punishment on her husband.


However, unlike when Carwin decimated Frank Mir to win his interim title belt, he could not land the blows to put Lesnar away.


One more than one occasion, referee Josh Rosenthal took a closer look at the action, presumably with a view to stopping the fight. Lesnar, however, had other ideas, and defended himself admirably. His desperate defensive measures prevented Carwin from landing any clean shots, while he strategically used up-kicks to buy himself some time.


By the end of the round, Lesnar’s face was swollen and bleeding, but unfortunately for Carwin, he was still standing.


Lesnar did not give up; he would not give up. Now, he knew it was time to strike.


His corner reminded Brock how tiring it is to rain down punches in an attempt to put your opponent away. After all, that is what Lesnar is used to doing. His team all knew that Carwin was tiring. Having never been out of the first round before, the questions surrounding Carwin’s cardio and fitness were about to be answered.


From the moment Lesnar left his corner for the second round, he looked rejuvenated. He bought himself a second chance, and he was going to take it. Having survived a 10-8 round, Lesnar was now ready to take control; and he did.


Carwin looked noticeably slower, and was clearly suffering the effects of fatigue, having tried so hard to put his opponent away.


Meanwhile, Lesnar was not about to make the same mistakes again. Standing and trading with Carwin was not an option.


Having secured a takedown and moved immediately into side control, Lesnar looked to land some of his own ground and pound. Then, when the opportunity arose, he slipped in an arm triangle choke. Carwin was in position to defend the attempt, but Lesnar’s superhuman strength broke his resistance quickly.


As he slowly tightened the hold, Carwin’s chances of becoming the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion slowly slipped away with every desperate gasp for air. Eventually the power became too much and Lesnar locked in the hold; Carwin tapped immediately.


He came out of the Octagon victorious following a brutal beating at the hands of one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world today. Nobody saw him surviving the first round onslaught; judging by her reaction, not even his own wife.


Brock Lesnar retained his heavyweight title, but not in the spectacular circumstances we have come to expect from a Brock Lesnar victory. Instead, he ground out a gritty win.


His strength and incredible cardio proved too much for Carwin, but it was his heart that earned all the accolades. His refusal to give in while Carwin bombarded him with shots won him respect.


Lesnar has been criticised in the past for his attitude and postmatch comments, but this time, we saw a humble Brock Lesnar.


Spending nearly 12 months on the sidelines was difficult for him. He didn’t know if he would ever fight again. Instead, he transferred the heart he showed in his battle with diverticulitis, and added it to his game inside the Octagon.


Brock Lesnar showed the heart of a lion. He was determined, mentally strong, and smart. He knew he was in a bad way, but refused to panic and kept his defences up. He knew if he could make it through the round, he had a great chance of beating a tired Carwin, and he was not going to give up his belt easily.


He may have riled the entire MMA community in the past, but he has now earned their respect. The Undisputed Heavyweight Champion has already requested an autumn title defence against Cain Velasquez as he looks to return to the Octagon as soon as possible.


He has demonstrated his willingness to compete whenever, wherever. And with the determination he showed at UFC 116, few would bet against him when he finally meets Velasquez.


Of course, there are still doubters, but following his comeback from illness, and his comeback against Carwin, Brock Lesnar has transformed himself from MMA’s most-hated villain into a fan-favourite and true champion.


Now he has the support of the MMA community, he could go from strength to strength. Most fighters respond favourably to having their name chanted while they do battle, and it would be wrong to suggest Lesnar would be any different.


He has won over the fans, and shown everybody that he is not really the man we saw after the Frank Mir fight. His wrestling heel persona is simply an act. We saw the real Brock Lesnar at UFC 116, and we liked it.


To make it through the first round took real heart; it required the heart of a champion. Something we now all know, Brock Lesnar has in abundance.