Former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin came within inches of defeating UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar to unify the belts last Saturday at UFC 116 but saw that chance fly out the window along with his overall muscular functioning in between the first and second rounds. Carwin was all over Lesnar in the first round, following up an early knockdown with a near-constant stream of pummeling ground and pound. Unfortunately for Carwin, Lesnar was resilient enough to outlast that early barrage and make to the second round while Carwin’s conditioning could not survive the sustained attack. Suffering from a full body meltdown, Carwin succumbed to a takedown and a subsequent arm triangle submission early in the second round. Despite how close he came to victory, Carwin does not regret going for broke in that first round and explained to MMAFighting during an interview exactly why.
“That’s me, it’s instinctually who I am,” Carwin said. “I get somebody wounded and I go in for the kill. That’s how I fight. I don’t know if there’s anything that changes that. I don’t know if I want to change that. I think it’s an exciting style, and it’s who I am as a person. I don’t have any regrets with what happened, but I do have things to work on and figure out. Now it’s time to move forward.”
However, Carwin also told MMAFighting that because of the conditioning failure, his “concern level [was] pretty freaking high when you have to go back out to fight again,” and that he has plans to undergo analysis3 including heart-rate monitoring and also intends to alter his training and dieting to prevent the lactic acid build up from occurring in the future.
Looking at Carwin’s performance in the second round, it was clear that something beyond the run-of-the-mill gas out was affecting his body. His punches were painfully slow and forced and he was completely unable to stop Lesnar’s takedown (as he was able to do with ease in the first round) or mount any defense off of his back. Knowing that it was unlikely he could do much damage in the second round, one wonders why Carwin decided to answer the bell at all but he told MMAFighting that the thought of giving up never crossed his mind.
“Going back out there, I could have hit him with a punch or something when he was trying to come in,” he said. “Just never give up. That’s just the competitor in me. If I had to crawl back out there until they stopped it, I would have done it.”
Carwin also expressed that he holds no ill-will towards referee Josh Rosenthal, who allowed Lesnar to continue defending himself despite the brutal nature of the attack he was enduring. In fact, he actually believes that Rosenthal did a stellar job officiating the bout.
“I put all my eggs into that basket of finishing Brock,” he said. “Josh was on top of it, he told him to improve a couple times. When you hear that and you’re the top guy, it makes you want to speed things up and finish the guy that much quicker. The first time Josh was getting ready to call it, I thought I was real close, but after that I didn’t reach that point with him again. As a ref, I thought he did a great job. How could I have any qualms since Brock was able to come back and beat me? It would have been a different story if Brock would have taken a bunch more unnecessary punishment and got messed up from it.”
Once Lesnar ducked Carwin’s punches and secured the takedown in the second round, Carwin expected Lesnar to return the favor of a ground and pound attack but instead Lesnar quickly secured a submission and Carwin commends Lesnar’s surprising choice of finishing technique.
“Honestly I didn’t think of Brock going for a submission,” Carwin said. “I never imagined it. But my hat’s off to him for that, for finishing the fight and coming back like a champion after taking such a rough first round.”
After competing so successfully against Lesnar to start, Carwin hardly falls to the bottom of the heavyweight ladder with this loss but he will need to win a few before he can be considered for title contention again. According to Carwin, that is exactly what he plans on doing and he certainly wouldn’t mind netting a rematch with Lesnar along the way, whether or not he remains champion.
“Hopefully I get a few wins under my belt and some day, I hope me and Brock get to do it again,” he said.