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By Brian O'Hara for MMA Sports. Photos by Josh Hedges, courtesy of Zuffa, LLC.

Webster, South Dakota native Brock Lesnar may have never believed that he would go from pushing livestock around on a farm as a youth to pushing heavyweight champions around in the octagon. That was indeed the case at UFC 91 when 14,272 people showed up to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada to watch him unarm the UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture. The event drew $4.8 million at the gate, which was the fourth largest in UFC history.

Lesnar made the unprecedented crossover from a stared career in professional wrestling to becoming one of the biggest names that the UFC has ever seen. After his first MMA win over Min Soo Kim at K-1 Heroes in 2007, Lesnar assured UFC President Dana White that he was serious about his MMA career and wanted to prove it by signing with the UFC.

“I came to Dana because I wanted to be with a company that’s going to be around for a long time. There is only one company to fight for and this is the one.”

White immediately put Lesnar against former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir to see what he was capable of. Although he lost to Mir in the first round via a leg-lock submission, Lesnar showed promise by easily taking Mir down and punishing him on the mat before giving up his leg. Lesnar’s next outing was a much more successful showing with a unanimous decision victory over tough opponent Heath Herring at UFC 87.

White then gave Lesnar the opportunity of a lifetime. The chance to face the most credentialed champion in the sport, UFC champion Randy Couture.

Lesnar said going into the fight against Couture that he was the one with nothing to lose because he was not the title holder. In fact he said that he was not feeling any pressure heading into the biggest bout of his life. He admitted afterwards however, that the nerves had crept in until the two first exchanged shots.

“I’ve been in big matches like that before and usually the first period you’re going to have some nervousness. After you get in that first scramble or first situation you’ve got to overcome that and do what you’ve been training to do,” said the 285lbs Lesnar.

Critics have been outspoken claiming that Lesnar had not yet earned the right for a shot at the UFC heavyweight championship. Lesnar gave no apologies for his blast to the top of the UFC in just seventeen months as a professional MMA fighter.

“Once again I was approached with the opportunity and I was going to do my damndist to seize the moment. I put my time in at the gym just like I always do, and you kind of hope for the best and go out and try to win the title.”

Lesnar did more than just try at UFC 91. He silenced his critics with an impressive display of knees from the clinch, improved strikes, and forceful takedowns to strip the title away from one of the most accomplished athletes in the UFC.

After defeating Couture, Lesnar climbed to the top of the cage, put his right hand over his eyes, and scanned over the crowd. This came after he was heavily criticized for his after-fight antics against Heath Herring.

“I was just excited and full of adrenaline. I just hopped up there and looked around. I was at the top of the mountain. I was just at the top of the hill looking around,” the champion said with enthusiasm in his voice.

Lesnar does not seem to concern himself with critical claims anyway. He stated that he does not get online or watch much television, nor does he plan to in the future.

“I wouldn’t start now. We don’t have the internet and I watch very little TV.”

For a man who does not buy into media-hype or modern technologies for that matter, he will likely tune in to find out which opponent will emerge between the latest coaches of “The Ultimate Fighter”.

“I’ll be fighting the winner of Mir and Nogueira.”

Lesnar claimed that he does not care who wins, but he undoubtedly will be pulling for a rematch against Mir who remains the only man to defeat him to date.

“It really doesn’t matter, but I always like to avenge my losses for sure. I think anybody would.”

Lesnar is a four time All-American wrestler, a two time Big Ten champion, and an NCAA heavyweight champion, as well as a former three-time WWE champion. Now standing as the newly crowned UFC heavyweight champion, Lesnar astonishingly has more in store for his fans.

“Put your seatbelts on we’re going for a ride and I appreciate the support. I’m enjoying what I’m doing and hopefully the people are enjoying watching too.”


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