He's the most polarizing man in the history of mixed martial arts. And Brock Lesnar's only been in the ring/cage five times. The impact of Lesnar's fighting style, image and attitude has been amazing. His performance and postfight antics at UFC 100 opened up a heated debate about the way a fighter should carry himself. Before previous fights, Lesnar has consistently trash talked about his opponents and been cantankerous with the media.
Apparently, that's all changed after his near-death experience with diverticulitis. Listening to the new Lesnar on Tuesday's UFC 116 conference call was a bit jaw-dropping.
"I laid in the hospital bed for over two weeks without any food in my body. I lost 42 pounds," said Lesnar, who used to walk around at roughly 290 pounds. "I felt like I was on my deathbed. I was very sick. This illness, it kills a lot of people. At the time, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to fight again. I thought I was going have to have major surgery and have part of my colon removed. That would've been a two-year process for me to even come back."
Lesnar, who generally approached life in three different states — grumpy, pissed off or agitated — has a new outlook.
"You realize that there's nothing more important in life than your family. You really find out who your friends are. To wake up everyday being on all them drugs, yeah, you definitely take a different approach on life. I really like I'm a cat with nine lives. I've got about eight left," chuckled Lesnar.
Lesnar is excited by the simple things.
"Just to get into the Octagon. There's very few places in this world where you can just lay it on line. For me, that's exciting. Yes, I'm very humbled."
Lesnar was 99 percent complimentary about his next week opponent Shane Carwin. He even joked that the only advantage Carwin will have in the fight is that he's better looking.
"It's a great day. I'm done with training today. I'm going home to my family. I'm almost done with training camp. It's just a good day to be alive," said Lesnar, when asked why he wasn't his old surly self. "It's a good day to be alive!"
The question now is — how long will this last? We've all been around people who claim to have experienced life-altering moments and then a year later they go back to being the same person. And from the fight promotion standpoint, does the UFC like the new, happy Lesnar? More importantly, are fight fans going to flock to see the more benign Lesnar? It's all to be determind in the next 18 months or so.