(Fanpost edited and promoted by MMAMania.com)
It's been a couple of weeks since Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos were announced as the coaches of the newest installment of the Spike reality television show The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). This week we were able to watch video after video of interviews between both coaches.
One of the most popular topics concerning the coaches is the drastic difference in Junior dos Santos and his coaching staff in comparison to Brock Lesnar and his coaching staff. Many are quick to discredit Lesnar as being too new to the sport and too short on expertise to be coaching anyone, let alone an entire team of UFC hopefuls. This breakdown of the staff is an attempt to explain why that's not necessarily the case.
Since his debut with the world's largest fight promotion, every move he makes and every breath he takes has been documented by the media and fans. As reclusive as the big man is, every attempt has been made to get to know the former 265-pound kingpin.
Not nearly as much attention has been paid to the men that helped create the beast.
Lesnar has quietly assembled a very respectable crew to run his camp and many of them will be joining him on the show. Come along after the jump for an extended introduction to Team Brock Lesnar.
Well known in the submission wrestling world, Paulson is a 45 year old veteran of the sport. Having most recently fought in 2007, Paulson did most of his fighting throughout the 1990’s amassing a record of 10-4. He was the first American to become world Shooto champion, a title he defended for five years. He is a submission specialist who has toured the world in aspirations of training with the best trainers throughout his 30 years in martial arts.
Paulson began his martial arts journey with Judo in the early 70s but has dipped into everything from wrestling and boxing to Jeet Kune Do and Eskrima. He studied under Rorion, Royce and Rickson Gracie in his garage in the 1980’s and earned a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Rigan Machado. For anyone who doesn’t know Machado, he is an 8th degree Red and Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr.
Paulson also rolled with the legendary Dan Inosanto, who claims that Paulson is one of the most gifted grapplers he has ever trained with. Paulson currently runs the CSW Training Center in California where he's trained fighters like Josh Barnett, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Cub Swanson and Sean Sherk.
While known more for his submission and catch wrestling, Paulson has been a pioneer of mixed martial arts for several decades. He not only brings a legendary lineage of knowledge, but he also has the patience and experience the young TUF guys can value immensely.
Nelson is the founder and lead trainer at Minnesota Martial Arts. He has an extensive background in wrestling mixed in with over two decades of Thai boxing experience. Nelson founded the gym he runs in the early 1990’s that was home to former UFC Middleweight Champion Dave Menne.
But Nelson is more then just an accomplished coach. He is a former University of Minnesota Wrestling Team member and an All-American high school gymnast. He started in martial arts in 1983 has credentials in Jun Fan Martial Arts/Jeet Kune Do, a student of the legendary Guru Dan Inosanto. Nelson is also an Instructor in Muay Thai under Ajarn Chai Sirisute of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA. A grappler at heart, he earned the level of Advanced Student in Shoot Wrestling under Sensei Yurinaga Nakamura, and became a certified Instructor in Combat Submission Wrestling under Erik Paulson.
In 2002 Nelson became a Black Belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Pedro Sauer, and is currently a 2nd degree black belt. But perhaps the most impressive thing about Greg Nelson is the fact that he is a two-time cancer survivor after beating non-nodgkins lymphoma and a rare form of nerve cancer called neurolymphomatosis.
On a competitive level, Nelson has also been very active. He fought Muay Thai in the U.S. and Canada along with Amateur Shoot Wrestling. He won a Gold Medal in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the 1999 Pan-Ams, a Silver Medal in the 2000 Pan-Ams, and most recently three golds at the 2001 Grappling Games in LA.
Nelson has also coached other notable fighters such as veteran Nick Thompson, former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk, former WEC number one contender Brock Larson and most recently UFC lightweight Jacob Volkman. Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad and World Muay Thai Champion Saul Mitchell are other notable fighters under his tutelage.
Nelson was very active in Lesnar’s first four fights but did not participate in helping get him ready for what turned out to be a close call against Shane Carwin and a destruction at the hands of Cain Velasquez. Nelson is an experienced MMA coach and as laid out here, will bring plenty of know-how to the TUF cast. Oh, and Brock too.
Marty Morgan (*Pictured right)
Morgan, Lesnar’s head trainer, is a former assistant coach for the University of Minnesota’s wrestling program. He is the coordinator for Brock Lesnar’s training camp which most recently involved reaching out to Pat Barry and Shane Del Rosario to help the pasty brawler in his camp for Cain Velasquez.
Marty Morgan, is a very accomplished athlete himself. He's is a three-time All-American, two-time NCAA finalist and a national wrestling champion. He was the first athlete to go undefeated (39-0) for the University of Minnesota. This is not to mention his achievements outside of college. Morgan won two Greco-Roman national titles and placed twice in the National Freestyles. He participated on two World Championships teams and one World Cup team. Morgan finished third at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials and captured second at the 1996 Olympic Trials. He also placed twice in the National Freestyle Open.
His coaching career was also very successful. In the last nine seasons of his stay at Minnesota, Morgan assisted the Maroon and Gold to six Big Ten team titles, including three straight from 2001-03, nine consecutive top-two conference finishes and three NCAA titles. He spent 16 years as the head assistant and retired in late 2008 to become Brock Lesnar’s full time coach.
Morgan brings with him loads of coaching experience as well as an elite wrestling pedigree. He is an essential part of what Brock Lesnar has needed to succeed in his short time in the sport.
Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros
"Comprido" is Lesnar’s jiu-jitsu coach. His nickname is Portuguese for "long." He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under the Romero "Jacaré" Cavalcanti and is one of the rare few ever to win CBJJ Mundials Absolute division twice. He is well decorated in the sport, coming in at the very least third place at CBJJ World Championships since 1999 and taking second and first in the CBJJ Pan American Championships in 2002, 2004 and 2007.
"Comprido" started in jiu jitsu at five years old but also grew up in the art of Judo. Initially, Comprido did his training under Carlson Gracie, up until the legendary coach passed away. In his career, which has amassed over 500 grappling matches, many consider him to be one of the more technical jiu-jitsu players around.
"Comprido" is a founding member of Team Brusa and is part of jiu-jitsu instructional videos with fellow elite jiu-jitsu practioner Damian Maia.
Having "Comprido" on the team brings the tradional jiu-jitsu discipline to the team. He will be able to add in his submission prowess with the wrestling heavy background the other trainers in the camp bring to the table.
Welch is a former boxing coach for former lightweight title contender Kenny Florian. Welch aided in "Ken-Flo's" preparation for the Joe Stevenson fight but dates all the way back to Florian's time on TUF. Welch would later become the boxing coach for Brock Lesnar.
Before he was a coach, Welch was a Golden Gloves champion. He would amass a record of 5-0 as a professional before hanging it up to be an instructor. Welch has his own gym in Boston and has stayed true to his roots, training boxers throughout his coaching career.
Welch, has worked with Lesnar since his preparations for the Shane Carwin fight. He has always been confident in his efforts to improve Lesnar’s boxing skills.
Having a successful Golden Gloves boxer like Welch can only bring good things to guys who aren’t well versed in the stand-up game. Add in that Welch is already well experienced as a mixed martial arts coach who understands the mechanics and differences between MMA and boxing and it's full systems go.
Luke Richardson (*Not pictured)
Richardson is the strength coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. He has been the strength and conditioning coach for Brock Lesnar his last two fights. Not much is known of Richardson’s success in mixed martial arts as of yet but he's been a member of the Jaguars since 2009.
The coach of said Jaguars, Jack Del Rio, has been quoted as saying his entire off-season was dedicated to the conditoning program of Luke Richardson, so it is safe to assume that if Richardson has the skills to hone an entire 53 man roster of professional football players, he should be able to handle a small group of mixed martial artists. He has been working with Lesnar since his fight with Shane Carwin, which, if you remember, Brock was in tremendous shape and still full of energy, after the onslaught "The Engineer" unleashed on him for the duration of the first round.
Lesnar's conditioning was the deciding factor in that fight. And if that can be attributed in any way to Richardson then it's safe to say, the dude knows what he's doing.
That wraps it up.
What do you think, Maniacs? Now that you know both Team dos Santos and Team Lesnar, who do you give the edge to?