June 24, 2008

When former heavyweight champion Mark Coleman fell out his bout with rising star Brock Lesnar due to injury, the call was quickly made to perennial contender Heath Herring, who stepped up on short notice to take on the Minnesota native in his home state.

Herring made an impressive showing in his last fight defeating Cheick Kongo by split decision at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio. Despite the short notice, Herring says he had no hesitations stepping in to face Lesnar and the only detractor was pulling his camp together on time.

"The only hesitation was trying to get all the chickens back in the chicken coup so to speak. No one was really set up to try and get ready for a fight. I think we got camp established pretty quick and now everything's going okay," said Herring.

For his last fight, he admitted that he didn't work much on his ground game, expecting a stand-up fight with the experienced kickboxer, Kongo. Now facing a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion, he's on top of his grappling skills again, but definitely isn't neglecting his striking ability.

"I actually am working a little bit of ground now, but we're also training stand-up as well," Herring stated. "Not to slack off in any area. We're trying to be as well rounded as possible. I have a feeling he might want to come out and try to throw just a little bit, and I'm hoping he does and we've got to make him pay when he does."

With Lesnar on the horizon, Herring has assembled another top training camp including past coaches and partners, but he has also been spending much of his time training with Randy Couture and his team, Xtreme Couture.

"I've been down at Randy's a lot. Actually, Randy's really helped me out so far," commented Herring. "I really have got to give him a lot of credit for helping me out and kind of helping me with takedown defense and things like that."

There's not much video on Lesnar when it comes to his MMA career having only two professional fights to his credit, but Herring's vast experience in the fight game could be one of the most determining factors in the match-up.

Despite the lack of footage to map out a specific game plan, Herring is confident that he can anticipate what Lesnar is likely to do in the fight.

"From my own personal experience, guys that are that green and new, they kind of revert to that adrenaline rush and that's what I'm anticipating he's going to do as well," Herring said about his opponent. "I think he's going to be pretty wild and come out and do what we saw him do against Frank (Mir)."

Lesnar will likely have one very large factor on his side and that is the home state crowd of Minnesota behind their native son. Again, Herring's experience in this aspect of the fight will keep him calm when dealing with the storm of the crowd at UFC 87.

"I've been fighting people in their hometowns for a long time," said Herring. "This ain't my first rodeo."

Herring will continue his camp in Las Vegas as he prepares for the August 9 showdown with Lesnar as a part of UFC 87.

You May Like