Paulson on Lesnar

By Greg Savage Aug 2, 2009
Erik Paulson has been around mixed martial arts longer than most. The former Shooto champion has worked with many top fighters at his Southern California training center. Combat Shoot Wrestling has hosted the likes of Quinton Jackson and Josh Barnett over the past few years, but he got his highest profile pupil because of his Minnesota roots.

Paulson, a longtime friend of Brock Lesnar’s head trainer Greg Nelson, got the call to help work with the former WWE superstar when he decided to make the transition to MMA.

He was in the corner for Lesnar’s rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100 and was kind enough to fill in on some of the details behind the UFC champ’s game plan and post-fight antics.

Lesnar used an aggressive top game to pummel Mir and unify the heavyweight title that he had won from Randy Couture in November 2008. According to Paulson, he followed instructions to a tee.

“He stuck exactly to the game plan. We knew Frank was going to jump that half-guard as soon as he could on the ground,” said Paulson. “The whole objective was to control him on the ground, control his hips. As far as the half-guard, it was to put him flat in the half-guard, not let him get on his side and get under your leg.”

Joe Rogan described the former NCAA division I wresting champ’s fists as “lunchboxes” and Paulson concurred. He described the punches unloaded on Mir as “’Bully Beatdown’ punches” that broke his will and his face.

Paulson described Lesnar’s talent as “uncomparable,” and when you consider the talent he has worked with in the past, it is a considerable compliment.

“I’ve never met anyone like him,” declared Paulson. “Sheer brute strength and the ability to just go forever and his spirit’s unbreakable.”

As for the post-fight tirade, Paulson questioned why Lesnar’s corner men were not allowed into the Octagon. He felt that Nelson, Marty Morgan or himself could have helped to quell out of control Lesnar.

While he didn’t condone his actions, Paulson said he understood why Lesnar was upset.

“Since the last fight Frank was talking crap on me, on Greg, his other coach, and said he’d actually forgot more jiu-jitsu than Brock’s ever learned and once he retired he wanted to be Brock’s coach,” Paulson said. “Brock said, ‘I’m not going to say anything because I don’t really know Frank but after my fists do the talking and I give him a beat down, I am going to give him a piece of my mind.’”
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