Q&A with Greg Nelson, trainer to the UFC's newest champion
Three years ago, when Lesnar first considered mixed martial arts a viable career option, he told Nelson something that eased the trainer's three-and-a-half-hour roundtrip along I-94 from the Twin Cities to Alexandria, Minn., and back.
"I'm not just doing this to do it for fun," Lesnar told Nelson. "I'm doing it to be one of the best fighters in the world, and I know I can be one of the best fighters in the world. So this isn't something I'm just coming to waste time. I think I can really make it to the top."
Not only did Nelson believe Lesnar, the trainer soon had evidence that the 6-foot-3, 265-pound former NCAA champion wrestler could actually make it happen. Differing rhythms in pad work, for instance, began translating into combinations in sparring. And when Lesnar punched
On one early trip to Alexandria, which Lesnar chose for the camp's location so he could be near his daughter, Nelson allowed himself to believe a fighter three bouts into his career could actually defeat Couture, the venerable 45-year-old five-time champion of the UFC. Flanked by
"He's got all that physical talent," Nelson said. "But also, he's totally open to anything. He said to teach him anything he needs to learn, and fill in the blank pages."
The second thing we said was to snap his punches. "Don't worry about power. Think about speed. That's the one thing we told him when he sat on his stool between rounds. Trust those hands and let them work for you." When you're in the ring you can't help but want to hit the guy hard, so you have to fight the urge to wind up and send his head to Pluto. In training camp, it was one of the things we really focused on.