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With New Outlook, Healthy Brock Lesnar Swaggers Back to UFC

Two days after getting a clean bill of health from doctors and averting a career-threatening intestinal issue, Brock Lesnar is calling his recovery "a miracle." And while Lesnar defined the entire process as a life-changing experience, it seems clear that the champ hasn't lost his swagger.

In a far-ranging conference call with reporters following his return announcement earlier in the day on ESPN, Lesnar re-focused his aim on his comeback, health care and even his own camp. But not surprisingly, he saved his most pointed comment for the UFC's heavyweights.

"I know one thing, all those guys are s---ing their pants right now," he said.

The heavyweight may be a terror to the rest of the division, but there's no question that his return was about the best gift the UFC could have hoped for following a slew of bad luck.

If there was any question about Lesnar's importance to the UFC, look no further than the primary delivery vehicle for his message: ESPN. The fact that Lesnar is so relevant a sports figure that ESPN would feature his return announcement on live TV speaks to his importance to the UFC's bottom line, and his presence sets up a potential series of big money bouts.

First up will likely be the winner of the March 27 interim title bout between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir. Asked about the possibilty of again fighting Mir, who has repeatedly called for a third fight with Lesnar, the champ voiced his approval.

"You know what? I don't think I beat him as bad as I could," said Lesnar, who scored a second-round TKO over Mir at UFC 100. "For me to get my hands on that stalker again, Frank Mir has made it the mission of his life. Frank Mir, the stalker. It's been a while since I've had a stalker, but I'll take care of that if I ever face him again."

The 32-year-old Lesnar has been among the UFC's biggest pay-per-view draws from his first match, and at UFC 100 helped the company draw around 1.7 million buys. He is expected to make his return in the summer, and if Mir or Carwin are not ready in time, the company would possibly bump the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira-Cain Velasquez winner ahead of them to face him.

Either way, the company likely expects another monstrous buyrate of around 1 million buys for Lesnar's return.

Detailing his amazing physical ordeal, Lesnar said he dropped 40 pounds, getting as low as 248 pounds, a number he said he hadn't seen "since like second grade."

Lesnar first fell ill during a training camp while preparing to fight Carwin at UFC 106. After being diagnosed with mononucleosis and also thought to perhaps have swine flu, Lesnar withdrew from the bout, and soon drove to Canada to recover and do some hunting. While there one night, he woke up in shock and with the sweats, and characterized the accompanying stomach pain as feeling as though he'd been shot.

Lesnar and his wife drove to a nearby hospital, where he says equipment that was necessary for a test he needed was not working. In excruciating pain and with doctors unable to help him, Lesnar's wife Rena made the call to leave. Traveling at high speeds, the two raced to MedCenter One, a hospital in Bismarck, N.D.

Lesnar spent 11 days in Bismarck, being fed intravenously under the care of Dr. Brent Bruderer, and was finally diagnosed with diverticulitis.

"He was panicking and freaking out," UFC President Dana White said. "He was ripping heads off, mine included."

Eventually, Lesnar underwent a procedure in which a six-inch needle drained three pockets of his stomach, removing 14 CCs of fluid. The next morning, he was able to eat for the first time in days, and returned home.

"That doctor saved my career and saved my life," Lesnar said.

His treatment continued at the internationally renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where a previous diagnosis requiring surgery was confirmed. The surgery, which would have removed a bad section of his colon, would have required him to wear a colostomy bag for up to eight weeks, and required additional surgery afterward to re-attach his colon. In all, it would have been a physically draining and lengthy process that might have meant the end of his athletic career.

"I would've probably retired," he said.

While doctors waited to see how his body responded to newly prescribed antibiotics, Lesnar made changes to his diet, adding fiber to his menu.

"Basically for years I was surviving on meat and potatoes," he said. "When the greens came by, I kept passing them."

After weeks of a new diet and medications, on Jan. 5, Lesnar returned to the Mayo Clinic for a colonoscopy. What the doctors found -- or didn't find -- was astounding. He was completely healthy.

"They found absolutely nothing," he said. "The doctors came in and the whole panel said, 'You just got a winning lottery ticket. We do not have to do surgery on you.'"

Lesnar was so surprised that before announcing his clean bill of health to the world, he had a CT scan on Monday just to confirm he was OK. That also came back clean.

With his illness out of the way, Lesnar plains to return to light training on Thursday. Currently weighing 273 pounds, the UFC champ says the whole ordeal has changed his outlook on life.

"Everybody's got life-changing experiences," he said. "This is one of them for me. I believe things happen for a reason. It gave me a new perspective on life and my family. I'm a young guy. These things aren't supposed to happen. I consider myself a healthy human being. I'm 32 years old and for something like this to happen to me, I definitely have to re-evaluate. When you think you're doing all the right things and all of the sudden something like this happens, obviously you're not, so I have to make some changes."

In a scary thought, Lesnar thinks that what did not kill him will only make him stronger. With changes to his diet and his body returning to 100 percent, it's full speed ahead for the ultra-confident champion.

"When I got the green light, I don't dwell on the past. I never have," he said. "I'm the kind of guy who puts my head down and I just go. So I never look back."
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