For many years the UFC has struggled to find heavyweight talent that would be able to carry the division, as two of their former champions, Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, are well into the twilight of their careers. With Shane Carwin’s performance at UFC 96, they may have found one right in their own backyard.
If UFC fans weren’t aware of Carwin’s skills before, they were placed on high alert after he knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the 1stRound of their affair. That bumped the Denver-native’s professional record to a perfect 11-0, with all of his bouts ending before the final horn.
“I’ve always felt like I’ve been very athletic and I’m very competitive and I’m explosive,” Carwin said. “I love to train, too. Being in the training room alongside the No. 1 guys in the world and top-10 guys left and right and you’re in there training with them, that’s a boost of confidence as well.”
UFC president Dana White was excited when asked about Carwin’s potential and future inside of the Octagon.
“After beating Gonzaga, there’s nobody [Carwin] can’t fight in the UFC now,” White said.
In Carwin, up-and-coming Cain Velasquez and current champion Brock Lesnar, the UFC now has three solid young fighters that can serve as the cornerstones of their heavyweight division. Carwin just can’t wait to continue to test his talents against the world’s best.
“Velasquez is very talented and he’s going to do a lot of damage in the UFC,” Carwin said of the 5-0 American Kickboxing Academy fighter. “He’s right there at the top. He was an All-American wrestler who is great on his feet as well. He’s getting better all the time. All three of us are improving on the standup and the jiu-jitsu. I have a lot of respect for Cain. Brock is athletically gifted. What people don’t see are the athletic gifts of heavyweights, but Brock is gifted in that area as well.”
Carwin believes that the three of them will be staples in the UFC’s heavyweight division for many years to come.
“It’s inevitable that we’re going to see a lot of each other, and it’s a great thing for that to happen,” Carwin said of future fights with Lesnar and Velasquez. “It’s great to have people talking about it and now I think we’re at that point.”
Only time will tell whether Velasquez or Lesnar are in Carwin’s immediate future or not, in the meantime, all Carwin wants is an opportunity to compete.
“Keep putting them in front of me,” Carwin stated. “This is what I love to do.”