Shane Carwin is training hard for his fight with Frank Mir for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 111 in Newark, NJ on March 27.  Shane hasn't fought since last March and last night I asked him about the long layoff and about Mir's penchant for trash talk.  He didn't seem phased by either.  In fact he believes the layoff is helfpul in some ways, saying, "For a guy like me who is limited on ring time and experience it has been a good thing.  Anytime I can train and spar at a high level and advance my skills while taking little to no long term damage I feel I get better. Don't get me wrong I go home with black eyes, sore jaw, but I do feel like I am getting better."

Since Shane's style is similiar in some ways  to Brock Lesnar's, both men being masters of the "ground and pound," I asked him if there was anything he learned about Mir from watching Frank's last fight with Lesnar.  Shane  replied that there were "a few things that we will look for but Frank is a smart guy and I suspect he will have transitioned some since that fight.  I think I have what it takes to win the fight standing or through ground and pound.  He is going to be looking for mistakes and openings for his submissions. It will be a true honor to test myself against Frank."

As far as the trash talked, Shane is unfazed, saying, "It won't affect me at all.  I really do not pay a lot of attention to smack talk.  Whatever my opponent needs to do to get themselves ready to fight me is fine.  At the end of the night the better fighter (that evening) should have his hand raised and really that is all I care about."  Interestingly enough Shane actually thinks Mir might have a point in some of his comments, stating, " I have a lot of respect for Frank as a fighter and as a MMA professional.  I have a long ways to go to be on his Hall of Fame level so whatever he says is likely justified."

Although all of Carwin's victories have come in the first round, he's not concerned about his conditioning should the fight go into the later rounds, saying, "I train for five five minute rounds for every fight.  I push myself and my team pushes me to be the best fighter I can be for 25 minutes.  I have been told I get stronger and meaner as the rounds progress."  Now there's a scary thought.

Lastly, I asked him about who his favorite fighters are: "I think Fedor is a great fighter and his work ethic is very impressive.  I would love to see him fighting the best fighters in the world. GSP is an amazing fighter who again possesses that work ethic and martial art attitude day in and out.  He is always trying to become a better athlete and fighter.  I got to give Lesnar a ton of props for ascending to the top of the UFC Heavy Weight Division."

Shane also had great things to say about the lighter weight divisions:  "I also love watching 99% of the WEC fighters.  They are so technical and explosive.  The WEC has me on the edge of my seat even when I don't know whose fighting."

What comes across when conversing with Shane Carwin is his love and respect for the sport.  He also appreciates the sites covering him and said,  "Thanks a lot for your support.  I know I have some big fights ahead of me and I am a relative new comer to the top of the UFC Heavyweight division.  I really appreciate you MMA media outlets, my fans, my sponsors and the UFC for giving me this opportunity to live my competitive dream.  Many Doctors told me I would never compete again and surely not at the elite level I was at the time.  Somehow here I am doing just that, competing with the best of the best.  Chase that dream and shoot for the moon."

By beating Frank Mir on March 27, Carwin can take one giant leap towards that moon landing he seeks.

Thanks to Shane Carwin and his manager Jason Genet for their time and cooperation. Good luck at UFC 111!



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