We recently saw Brock Lesnar come out of retirement. And sure, in hindsight, his return to the UFC was sullied because of his failed drug tests, but it was exciting while it lasted nonetheless.
Now, another heavyweight behemoth and a former opponent of Lesnar’s, Shane Carwin, is eyeing a UFC comeback and this news has fans buzzing.
Carwin, 41, recently had his management contact UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to inquire about the process of returning to the UFC.
“Right now, there’s a lot of paperwork to go through,” Carwin told ESPN’s 5 Rounds Podcast. “My son is getting into training, so I thought this was an opportunity to come back. I’m healthy. I feel good with the time off.”
Carwin made his UFC debut in 2008 and the 265-pound knockout artist stormed through the division. He finished his first four UFC bouts — his first 12 professional fights overall — by first-round stoppage and won the UFC interim heavyweight title by putting Frank Mir to sleep at UFC 111.
However, that victory over Mir was the last of his career. He was moments away from stopping Brock Lesnar in their UFC 116 title unification fight in 2010 but was submitted in the second round. The last time we saw Carwin was at UFC 131 in Vancouver in June 2011 when he lost a unanimous decision to Junior dos Santos.
The Greeley, Colo., native coached The Ultimate Fighter 16 opposite Roy Nelson the following year but their scheduled fight was continuously postponed as Carwin dealt with various injuries. Carwin, who also works full-time as an engineer, officially retired from MMA in May 2013.
“It was a sad way for me to go out, with the back injuries and the knee, my neck — everything,” Carwin said. “My body needed that break, and quite honestly, back then, the way we were training, I feel we probably trained too much. Too intense. We were sparring three times a week. A lot has revolutionized in the last five years. It’s kind of changed the sport. I look at [training] schedules and they’re not as demanding on the body [now].”
Lesnar and the UFC were criticized prior to UFC 200 when the organization decided to waive the four-month testing window the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) requires for an athlete coming out of retirement.
Carwin’s manager, Jason Genet, told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Carwin wants to go through the full USADA testing process before returning so there is no controversy in that regard whatsoever.
“Shane wants to do it without any question marks,” Genet said. “We spoke to Joe Silva, who told us what to do, who to talk to. We spoke to the legal department and Jeff Novitzky (the UFC’s VP of Athlete Health and Wellness). Jeff is ready to start the USADA process whenever we are. That’s the easy part. We asked the legal department if they want to be in the Shane Carwin business and asked them another specific question I won’t get into right now. We have not heard back on either question yet.”
Carwin added that there are no guarantees he will return if his body doesn’t respond well to fight-specific training, but he’s confident he can get back to the top of the division.
“If I get in the [training] room and don’t dominate like I used to, it’s probably not a wise thing to go in there and fight someone near the top of the world,” Carwin said. “But if I am [dominant in training], I’m definitely going to be fighting.”