Lesnar talks coaching TUF 13
Brock Lesnar coaches opposite Junior Dos Santos on “The Ultimate Fighter 13.”
Lesnar enjoyed the experience of coaching “TUF,” but he wouldn’t do it again.
“I don’t know if I would or not,” Lesnar said when asked if he’d consider coaching TUF again in the future.
“Looking back from the beginning of the show I was hesitant just because I didn’t want to get out of my comfort zone too much, but we had a great group of guys. It was a good opportunity for me to learn as well. I probably wouldn’t do it again, no, but I did enjoy it.”
Lesnar’s comfort zone consists of spending time with his family and inner circle of friends. He took his family with him to Las Vegas for the filming of the reality series. The UFC and Spike TV made it financially worth his while and accommodated his needs, but the biggest factor that led to Lesnar accepting the “TUF 13” coaching position was the opportunity to get back in a title fight.
“Analyzing my loss against Cain (Velasquez), if I would have won that fight I’d be facing Junior. I’m right back into the same position,” said Lesnar. “It’s the closest thing to get me to a title fight and getting my UFC heavyweight title back.”
This season of “The Ultimate Fighter” premieres on Spike TV on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and features 14 welterweights trying to fight their way into the UFC.
The cameras and the spotlight are nothing new to Lesnar.
“You just kind of get used to it,” said the former heavyweight champion. “I was there to do a job, and my job was to be the coach for The Ultimate Fighter, and I’ve got a job to do on June 11 and that’s to fight Junior Dos Santos. I’ve been in front of the cameras a lot in my career, so I just approached it like any other thing, as professionally as I could.”
Coaching was new for Lesnar, but he brought with him the people that got him where he is.
“I actually had one of my mentors with me, Marty Morgan. I brought my own coaching staff there,” stated Lesnar. “Marty Morgan, Erick Paulson, Greg Nelson, (Rodrigo) Comprido, Luke Richardson, so I was surrounded by guys that have taken me to the top. I really wanted everybody there to do well.”
“The Ultimate Fighter” isn’t your typical coaching experience and presents a set of unique challenges to a coaching staff.
“It really is a short period of time that you’ve got these guys. You’ve really got to manage your time well with them. Five and a half weeks is a short period of time, and there’s a lot of fighting going on in that period. If these guys bring bad habits to the table or they lack experience in one area, you’ve got to be pretty creative to figure that out really fast,” explained Lesnar.
“There was great talent and not so great talent. It becomes very evident in the show. The cream rises to the top, and the guys that are supposed to win, win. It was pretty well etched in stone,” he added.
Lesnar was questioned about coaching 170-pound fighters and how that was different for him being on the larger end of the heavyweight division.
“Fighting is fighting. These lighter guys, they move a lot faster, but still the basic fundamentals to fighting is pretty much the same,” said Lesnar. “Some guys came into the show with different areas that they were stronger in, and I was able to give them some more wrestling.”
The former heavyweight titleholder admitted that he got a little emotionally invested in his team during filming.
“I wanted the best for the guys, all of them. I just found myself getting invested for them guys to win and be successful,” said Lesnar. “There’s a point in the show where we put a lot of time in with a certain individual and there’s some success that builds into it, so yeah, you get attached to in some ways.”
His time on “The Ultimate Fighter” was a learning experience from coaching to cornering.
“As a teacher you have to really break things down so that the student can understand it. I wasn’t under the gun on anything. I wasn’t in a training camp, so I was able to absorb things from my coaching staff and just learn different technique and different areas with no pressure involved in it,” he said.
“I had cornered a couple of times before that. I think the biggest thing I took away from it was octagon awareness and stuff like that,” he added.
“I guess my biggest surprise was how strong wrestling is in this sport. I mean take Jon Jones for instance. To be able to take a fight where ever you want to is very powerful in this sport, so I just look across the board and just see the wrestlers starting to take this sport to another level.”
Following the season’s conclusion, Lesnar and Dos Santos will meet in at No. 1 contender’s match at UFC 131 on June 11. During production, the two didn’t spend a lot of time together.
“I probably spent a total of 30 minutes with Junior on the show. I didn’t make it a point to run into him or anything in that nature. I saw very little of him other than what we were doing for television. The total time that I spent with Junior there in total time was 30 to 45 minutes total that I saw of him,” said Lesnar.
Looking back on the season, Lesnar is pleased with his team and their efforts.
“I thought our guys did a tremendous job in believing in the system. It took some time, but I was happy. It was a competitive show,” he said. “There was some question marks here and there, but at the end of the day the best fighters ended up winning and that’s the way it is.”