UFC 116 ‘Lesnar vs. Carwin’ is less than two weeks away, and thus far, there seems to be two story lines dominating the headlines — Randy Couture training with Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin limiting his media access.
As we all saw last week when Xtreme Couture released video evidence on YouTube, Randy Couture did in fact hike it up to Minnesota to workout with Brock Lesnar for his second UFC heavyweight title defense, and now that he’s back, he’s talking about the experience.
Interestingly, despite all the questions surrounding his ill-stricken absence from MMA, Couture says Brock is a “better” fighter now than he was a year ago.
“I don’t think the year off has hurt him. He’s made the adjustments physically and dietarily,” said Couture, who is preparing for his own co-headlining bout against retired pro boxer James Toney at UFC 118 on Aug. 28 in Boston. “He’s back to 100 percent full strength and I think that having the downtime wasn’t a huge issue for him. He was back pretty quickly to being able to train. Technically, he’s probably learned more and is a better fighter than he was a year ago.”
Couture made it clear though that he wasn’t there to be Lesnar’s coach, he was just another training partner who offered a few pointers here and there.
“I think the whole reason I went out there was to see what they’re doing in their camp, what their strength and conditioning is like, what kind of partners and situations is he putting himself in to face another wrestler in Carwin… It wasn’t about me going out there and training him or feeling like I’m going to contribute to helping him beat Carwin or any of that. None of that went on…Obviously, there was some technical adjustments that could be made, but I wasn’t there to be a coach. I was there to be a workout partner.”
Couture went on to predict a win for Lesnar if he can control Shane with his wrestling. If Shane turns into a “firefight” though, well, then “anything can happen.”
Meanwhile, all the attention on Shane Carwin lately has had nothing to do with his preparation for Brock Lesnar. Instead, it’s all been ironically focused on Carwin’s perceived “media ban.” At the start of his camp, Carwin decided to limit his media access only to those who could gain it through Zuffa. A few websites and journalists turned his decision into a debate over whether or not Carwin was doing his part selling the fight, and the next thing you know Carwin is pissed. Well, at least annoyed enough to issue the following response.
A lot of people are still questioning my reasoning behind limiting my media access. If you read this article it would sound as if I am somehow failing at my duties as a fighter. Or according to the Zuffa “Talking Heads” I am not doing my part to sell this fight.
Lets talk about me selling this fight. I earned this fight. I was “given’ my previous opportunity against Brock but this one I earned. I was asked to train for Cain and I began my camp. I was then told Cain is not the opponent I am being bumped up to Lesnar. Then I begin training for Lesnar to only have him pull out of the fight TWICE. His “miracle recovery” underway I was told I am going to have to face Frank Mir to earn the opportunity to face Brock (something I had already been given and taken away now twice). So for those of you confused by the fact that I somehow am fighting Brock because I talked crap or played some hype man you are wrong. I earned this fight and this opportunity. I have never turned down a fight, I have never told Zuffa no, I have and always do a good job and for them. Those that know me know that is who and what I am all about.
Those in the Media that want to chastise me have not even attempted to reach out through proper channels to get an interview. I never said I wasn’t doing interviews or eliminating media. I said I was not taking any direct media request. I just do not have the time to spend “just 15 minutes” on the phone answering the same questions over and over. The time adds up and that time has to come from my other job, family or training. None of which are worth sacrificing more than the need to promote a fight. I have however accepted 100% of the interview request that Zuffa has presented me. I have taken my own initiative and went out for the entire month of May meeting fans traveling the US. My team has got me on the Jason Ellis Show (@ellismate) in which I did about a ten minute interview (on my own) to help promote the fight.
The thing with Carwin is it’s not in his personality to “sell a fight” by talking a bunch of trash. If you haven’t noticed, he’s a modest guy who does all his talking with his fists. If he was ever going to sell this fight, he did it when he obliterated Frank Mir’s face with those uppercuts at UFC 111.
Image via SI.com