With less than a week to go before his upcoming UFC Heavyweight Championship defense against Cain Valesquez, it is definitely BrockTober around these parts.
Lesnarâ€™s success holds a special place for me. Not only because he was a former professional wrestler, but because of our close geographical upbringings. Lesnar was born and raised in Webster, South Dakota, a small town that is a mere forty miles from my small hometown Britton, South Dakota. Lesnar is about six years older than me so we never encountered each other, but when I was in high school I was given the chance to attend two wrestling training camps put on Lesnar and his University of Minnesota wrestling teammates.
The second camp took place in the summer of 2000, months after Lesnar had won his NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship from the U of M. He had since graduated college and had just signed his World Wrestling Entertainment weeks earlier. To say he didnâ€™t want to be in his hometown gym training some high school kids would be an understatement.
I remember the day he debuted on WWE television, which was March 18, 2002. I was a freshman at the University of South Dakota and happened to live on the same dorm floor as three guys I knew from Webster. We watched in excitement as our local celebrity made a splash on the national pro wrestling stage.
Lesnar was an immediate star from that first appearance, and he didnâ€™t look back until he walked away from WWE in March 2004. He steamrolled through WWE in those two years and ascended to the top of the company faster than anyone in history. Sure, his pro wrestling matches were determined ahead of time, but his God-given natural athletic ability and charisma made him any easy performer to get behind.
Unfortunately, being the competitive animal that he is, Lesnar wanted more than WWEâ€™s insane travel schedule and pre-planned performances. He finally found that competitive platform he was looking for when he discovered mixed martial arts. To call Lesnar a â€œfreak of natureâ€ is not an insult, but rather a testament to his abilities and talents.
Naysayers will discredit Lesnarâ€™s time in professional wrestling as not relevant to his success in MMA. But in reality his success in the entertainment-based world of wrestling is a testament to what all of us wrestling fans already knew and the rest of the sports world is beginning to find out This guy is just damn good.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, UFC, WWE