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Could Carwin be the new 'Natural'?

MMA fans know Randy Couture as "The Natural" but for casual sports fans that nickname probably makes you think of the Robert Redford movie about the fallen baseball pitching phenom who comes from out of nowhere 15 years later with a career rebirth as a slugger. Shane Carwin looks nothing like the wispy Roy Hobbs but is on the similar path to achieving stardom in his mid-30s. He lost his "shot" at the bigtime when injuries destroyed his shot at the NFL. Completely that path won't be easy. The 6-foot-3 265-pounder has to take out UFC heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night in Columbus at UFC 96.

Carwin was a highly-touted prospect out of Division II Western State when he went to the NFL combines in 1998 and hoped to be chosen in the first five rounds. Medicals during the combines discovered that his back was jacked up with bulging and ruptured discs. He went undrafted. Carwin was far from a down and out dumb jock. He went pn to get a mechanical engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and is now a full-time engineer. Carwin says an good education is not unusual amongst MMA fighters:

"As far as all the sports and athletics I've been involved in, the fighters are probably are the greatest group of guys. They have respect for each other and other people, and are very intellectual as well."

Click below to watch Carwin with Cage Writer:

Don't misread Carwin and his soft-spoken nature. The guy comes into this fight 10-0 with only one of his fights reaching the second round. But does he have enough cage/ring time to compete at the highest level? He's smashed all of his opponent so easily that he only has a little over 11 minutes in the cage.

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