by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It was over a year since Shane Carwin had last fought, but in the end the waiting paid off when the Colorado fighter knocked out former champion Frank Mir, solidifying himself as the new interim UFC heavyweight champion and guaranteeing a date with Brock Lesnar this summer.
Carwin had been scheduled to face Lesnar on two previous occasions, but the champion’s injuries forced him out of the fights and put Carwin on hold. Coming back from a slight injury of his own, Carwin took on Mir knowing that a shot at Lesnar was on the line, but he says the way things played out were probably for the best.
After defeating former top contender Gabriel Gonzaga last March, Carwin was forced out of action while the rest of the division moved on. He believes getting a fight against Mir made everyone understand he deserves a shot at Lesnar.
“I think everything works out for a reason,” Carwin told MMAWeekly Radio. “That’s probably the reason right there. Getting that win over Frank, that’s two of Brock’s five fights. So being able to fight Frank, and get to Brock for that just put me into the title contention.
“One thing that hurt me was sitting out. I was supposed to fight Cain (Velasquez) and they moved that, then they bumped me to Brock, obviously people had questions about that. In the mean time I’ve been sitting out waiting to fight Brock or Cain, and all these other guys were fighting and still winning. So that makes their records and them look like a better contender, so I think at this point it was best that I fought Frank.”
Now that he has fought and defeated Mir, the next order of business is UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. Following the Mir fight, Lesnar was brought into the cage with Carwin, but the new interim champ says he wasn’t worried about any smack talk; he just wanted to celebrate.
“At that point I didn’t really care that Brock was in there, I didn’t even really pay any attention to him,” said Carwin. “I was elated for my win. It was a big victory over a big time opponent, and I just wanted to go celebrate with my coaches. Him being in there talking, I could have cared less.”
Lesnar has become a master of trash talk, and it’s obviously gotten to some past opponents, but one person it won’t get to is Carwin. He has stated time and time again that he’s not one to buy into trash talk, and Lesnar can keep on flapping his gums if he just wants to hear himself talk, cause Carwin isn’t listening.
“That’s one thing that he does well and I think he obviously studied that part of the game for a while when he was doing the WWE stuff, so it probably comes natural to him, but like I said that stuff I actually find pretty amusing,” said Carwin. “If they come out and they rip on me, or comment, I’ll actually have a laugh about it. That kind of stuff doesn’t affect me.
“I want to be remembered as the type of fighter for my fights in the Octagon, not for all the talk outside of it.”
Getting home to spend time with his wife and new baby were the foremost things on Carwin’s mind after the win, but Lesnar is looming just around the corner, so he’s ready to head back into camp to start training again.
“It sounds like great timing,” Carwin said about the summer fight with Lesnar. “I’ll get a couple weeks here, obviously I’d like a little bit more time with my family and stuff, but the UFC has been great to me and they treated me well, so I’m willing to work for them, and go to work July 3.”
It could be the biggest heavyweight fight in UFC history when Shane Carwin takes on Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 this summer.