Feature story by Anthony Springer Jr
Time management is critical to a fighter’s career. Watching the clock inside the Octagon can be the difference between grinding out a decision and letting a victory slip through the gloves.
In Shane Carwin’s world, time management takes on another meaning entirely. Carwin, 33, is one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars with an impressive 9-0 record. He’s also a full time engineer and father, attributing his rise among the ranks of the heavyweight division to the delicate balancing act he performs every day.
“I work 40 hours a week seven to four. I spend my lunch hour doing strength and conditioning,” Carwin says of his daily regimen. “Right after work I get a couple classes in with my striking coach or Jiu-Jitsu coach. I’m also coaching wrestling twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursday. I make sure I get all the disciplines in.”
Carwin cuts his training time every other week while caring for his son, but the shortened training time has yet to have an adverse effect on the Colorado fighter once the cage door closes. In his 9 professional fights, Carwin has not seen the second round, finishing all of his adversaries in the opening minutes. It may be no accident that Carwin’s longest fight was his first—he defeated Carlton Jones in 2:11 at WEC 17.
“I had only been training for five weeks and had little knowledge of what the game was about,” he says of that first fight.
Not only has Carwin not been out of the first round, but since the initial fight, he hasn’t fought past two minutes. The string of victories prompted a friend of the fast rising star to contact UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. Silva, impressed with Carwin’s abilities, placed Carwin on the UFC 84: Ill Will undercard where he made short work of Christian Wellisch.
And by short, I mean 44 seconds and one punch KO short.
Carwin insists that while all of his early stoppages have been intentional, he can go the distance if need be.
“I don’t go in there and try to stretch it out. I go in like a caged animal—all these hours of preparation and you finally get released. It’s exciting. The easy part is fighting. I don’t necessarily look to end it in the first because we’re trained to go all rounds at full speed.”
Carwin will have his hands full with his tenth professional fight this weekend at UFC 89 when he squares off against fellow undefeated fighter Neil Wain.
“Neil’s an aggressive fighter, I’m an aggressive fighter, and it should make for some good fireworks.”
A victory over Wain will cement Carwin’s name among the next crop of future heavyweight stars. He, along with Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar are predicted to resurrect the UFC’s heavyweight ranks. Carwin almost seems oblivious to the attention his name garners among MMA fans, and while deep down he may appreciate it, he takes the praise with a grain of salt.
“I’ve got a lot of things that I need to work on, where people want to rank me or place me is of little concern,” he says calmly.
For now, Carwin—who holds two bachelor’s degrees—is content with his full time engineer, part time fighter status and even with his impressive record, has not entertained leaving his job to fight full time.
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
If he keeps up this pace, that bridge may be around the corner.