Shane Carwin is a great guy with a smart head on his shoulders, and I’m sure you have all heard by now that he has retired. Carwin had a short, but very memorable career.
When I think on the man, a few things come to mind: All first round finishes, WEC 17, Frank Mir‘s destruction, and ‘what could have been’ with Brock Lesnar.
I’m a huge fan of the lighter weight classes and always have been, but who doesn’t admire a big heavyweight ready to knock someone’s block off? When you debut in the WEC, you know the guy you’re fighting is no joke.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I was (and always will be) a huge fan of the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting). So, when WEC 17 started, I had to do some research on this guy named Shane Carwin. I was told to be on the look out for this mammoth of a heavyweight ready to finish anybody.
Carwin made his MMA debut against Carlton Jones. When I first saw this guy that die hard fans were talking about, I was very shocked on how big he was for a heavyweight. Carwin impressed me and WEC fans all over the world when he came in, took punches, used his wrestling background to get it to the ground and get the win via Submission (Punches) at 2:11 of round 1.
Carwin’s legacy to me is a guy who won all of his fights in the first round. He always used his wrestling to his advantage, but by the time he entered the UFC, he was known for very deadly/heavy hands. Carwin made his UFC debut as the Ring of Fire Heavyweight Champion, defeating Christian Wellisch via KO (punch) at 0:44 of round 1, effectively putting the UFC’s heavyweight’s on notice.
After dropping Neil Wain and former contender Gabriel Gonzaga in the first round, the UFC knew it was time to put the wrestler/striker to the real test. Carwin was then set to face fellow undefeated heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez at UFC 104, with the winner getting a title shot against then champion Brock Lesnar, however, the UFC reconsidered the bout and Carwin was confirmed to fight for the title at UFC 106 on November 21, 2009.
The fight was later put on hold after Lesnar pulled out due to illness. Lesnar and Carwin were then rescheduled for UFC 108 and Lesnar pulled out of that fight in October. Dana White reported at the UFC 105 post-fight press conference that Lesnar was too ill to compete and was expected to be out for the first half of 2010 while recovering from an intestinal disorder and subsequent surgery, so the UFC had to create a interim championship.
I will never forget UFC 111 as it was my birthday. We had a huge UFC birthday party at my house, and for me it was all about Shane Carwin versus Frank Mir for the UFC interim heavyweight championship. I am a huge Frank Mir fan and thought he was going to be the guy who was going to dethrone the Carwin hype train, and boy was I wrong.
Not only was I wrong, but Carwin ran through Mir by using the clinch to push him against the cage and dominated with uppercuts inside the clinch to knock Mir to the mat, took his back and rained down heavy punches to his head to finish the fight. Carwin won the UFC interim heavyweight championship and also received the knock out of the night honors.
After the Mir win, it was time to pit the two heavyweight monsters against one another. Brock and Carwin had the biggest hands in UFC history (Carwins’s were bigger than Brock’s) and fans were very excited to see the two rhinos clash inside the octagon.
The two would meet at UFC 116 for the unified UFC heavyweight championship. Carwin did what a lot of people thought he was going to do and dominated the first round. I like others thought the fight was going to be finished by Carwin. He knocked Lesnar down and beat the breaks off the champ with dangerous ground and pound.
Carwin used everything he had in the tank, but was unable to finish Brock and ended up gassing himself out. This would be the first time that Carwin would enter a second round, and he found out the hard way that cardio matters. Lesnar took an exhausted Carwin down with ease and got the win via an arm-triangle choke.
Carwin was shelved for a bit and then was scheduled to face Roy Nelson at UFC 125. He later announced on his website that he would have to pull out of the fight due to back and neck pain which required surgery. The surgery was a success, but it also pushed Carwin to the back of the line.
Carwin was expected to face promotional newcomer Jon Olav Einemo on June 11, 2011 at UFC 131, but problems put Brock Lesnar back on the shelf, so Carwin agreed to step up and fight Junior dos Santos in the main event. The Carwin/JDS fight was a war and proved that Carwin can go the distance, and that JDS was for real. Carwin’s face was smashed in and he was defeated by unanimous decision.
Back surgery sidelined Carwin once again. In 2012 Carwin and Roy Nelson were hand picked to be the next coaches for the 16th season of The Ultimate Fighter and were expected to face each other on December 15, 2012 at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson Finale. However, Carwin injured his knee and will be forced to withdraw from his fight with Nelson at the TUF finale. This would ultimately result in Carwin’s retirement. Just recently (May 7, 2013) Carwin announced his retirement for the sport of mixed martial arts.
Carwin will always have a UFC legacy, and will be known as the guy who was a few punches and breathes away from becoming the man to beat Brock Lesnar and become the UFC heavyweight champion. I still to this day wish we could of seen him fight Cain Velasquez. That will always be a dream fight for me that will never happen.
We wish him the best in his future endeavors. Thanks Shane Carwin for all you did for the sport.