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Let's get this out of the way first: Brock Lesnar started to learn BJJ and boxing at the age of 31 if I am correct. It is very difficult to learn those two aspects of fighting at this age. He may perform better in BJJ, especially using a catch wresting mentality, submitting opponents from the top. With boxing and muay thai though, getting better is more difficult because striking requires natural talent. That being said his jab against Carwin had a lot of snap in it and his boxing is fundamentally correct although not very fluid.
Brock Lesnar is obviously working hard on his technique. He hired top level guys for his training and he actually respects the various aspects of fighting as a student. For example wrestlers rarely give credit to BJJ training like he does. I hate how Team Quest members, after inviting so many Brazilians to roll with them in order to learn how to avoid submissions, always disrespect BJJ. I also remember Matt Hughes claim the he only used his wrestling to beat Royce Gracie although he obviously used classic BJJ techniques to achieve the victory. Brock is different. He trains in both boxing and BJJ with top level instructors and always gives them credit. But, starting at this age, it is rather unlikely that he will ever be as well rounded as Fedor is.
Does it even matter? As much as I dislike Matt Hughes and Tito, both were dominant champions during their prime and legends of the sport, relying mainly on their wrestling. If a guy keeps winning in dominating fashion, being well rounded does not matter so much.
In addition, Brock has some very important advantages when it comes to fighting:
1. Courage and determination. He will never break mentally.
2. Natural explosiveness and speed for such a huge guy. This is not something you can just develop by lifting weights.
3. The ability to rapidly close the distance from one side of the cage to the other with a powerful double leg and not stop if he gets hit hard while trying.
4. Huge arms. If you get hit by those huge fists and if those huge arms squeeze your neck or bend your arm then the fight ends.
5. He is a fast learner.
6. He can take a punch or 30 punches and still survive.
Although, I agree with those who insist that Brock uses technique to beat his opponents and not just brute strength, size and strength matter in the successful execution of technique. In catch wrestling for example, bodyweight is used as a weapon. If you make the opponent carry your weight with every technique, he will get exhausted and will break physically and mentally. But you have to know how to use your weight and Brock does know how to use it.
I also agree with those who claim that Fedor is more talented as an overall fighter than Brock. Fedor though, is not as professional as Brock. Let’s take their fights with Mir and Werdum for example. Both of their opponents are submission experts. Brock brought "Comprido" Medeiros to train him, who is way better than Mir on the ground. Who did Fedor bring? I guess some M-1 guy who has never competed in high level BJJ competition. We all saw the results.
Now the let's get back to the main question. Will Brock
Lesnar ever become as great as Fedor and even replace him as the greatest heavyweight of all time?
The answer is YES for the following reasons:
1. Fedor lost. They both have legitimate losses on their record now. If Fedor hadn't lost to Werdum it would be hard for Brock to look superior compared to a guy with a perfect record and so many wins.
2. Brock is in the UFC. Unless Fedor comes to the UFC (and beats Brock)
that is a huge advantage for Brock. Most fans are mainly UFC fans and do not
really know anything about Fedor's legacy.
3. Brock is evolving, so with every fight we will see improvements and
people will start to appreciate his technique more and more. I am afraid that Fedor stopped evolving and that will be his downfall.
4. Although Brock got some of his first wins against opponents that he
was supposed to win, like Heath Herring and an old, slow and undersized Randy Couture, he will not be fighting weak opposition in his next fights. Carwin was a tough test and lost to Brock. If Lesnar gets past Cain Velaquesz, Junior dos Santos or Roy Nelson, he will have an amazing string of wins in his resume against legitimate high level competition. And wins over today's contenders count more than Fedor's wins against guys that are not even considered to be top ten fighters today.
5. Brock Lesnar brings drama and personality to the sport, the same way
Muhammad Ali did in boxing. That is always good for an athlete’s career.
Brock will become a legend and a greater one than Fedor was, IF he beats these guys. Of course, that is a very difficult task because all current contenders in the UFC are very dangerous. And if Brock loses, we all know that MMA fans are not very loyal fans. Look at Machida. He lost one fight and nobody cares about him anymore.
I personally think that Brock and Fedor will eventually meet. I may be the only MMA fan who supports both guys, and I want to see them keep winning until they fight each other. It will be a fight of epic proportions that will make a lot of money for both of them and for the UFC. They are destined to meet. But they have to keep winning for the fight to have some meaning. And although most Brock Lesnar fans hate Fedor and were very happy when Fedor finally lost, the only UFC employee who defended Fedor after his loss was Brock Lesnar:
"It was disappointing. I hate to see a guy like that," Lesnar said. "Whether his legacy was more of a mystique than it was, he stood up and he was respectful and it was tough to see. It reminded me of my first fight against Frank [Mir] when I got really anxious and fell right into the trap."
"That’s a tough pill to swallow. That’s a big pill to swallow and I definitely do not want to try to swallow that pill again."
"I feel bad for him."
"No I don’t. I don’t think any less of him," Lesnar said. "We’re human beings and we all make mistakes and it’s whether or not we can get up and better ourselves. That’s what true champions are made of, I believe."
-- Brock Lesnar on the Jim Rome show, transcribed by 5thround.com
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