‘Older’ Carwin jumps on the chance to face JDS

Steve Cofield

Shane Carwin got a late start to his MMA career and now that he's in his mid-30's, he's jumping on the opportunity to grab a title shot.

Brock Lesnar, ill again with diverticulitis, has dropped out of his title eliminator with Junior dos Santos on June 11. With the clock ticking on his career, Carwin, 36, felt like he had to take the shot.

"Junior is a serious fight and not the type of fight that you would normally take on a 30 day notice but I have a dream to chase and I do not have a lot of time to chase it.  This is an opportunity to put myself in contention for the title. I know my Coaches will have me ready so I have everything to gain, Carwin said on his blog. "My manager said 'This is where you belong' and I am going to make sure I do everything I can to prove him right."

The important phrase in there is clearly the reference to not having a lot of time. Carwin's been battling back issues. He was also facing a long climb back up the ladder after nearly 13 months off. This fight throws him right into the title mix. The winner is likely to get UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez in the fall.

Carwin (12-1, 4-1 UFC) is certainly qualified to face a guy like dos Santos (12-1, 6-1 UFC), but he's in a tough position. He had back surgery in the fall of 2010 and hasn't fought since his UFC 116 loss to Lesnar. Coming out of that defeat, there were also questions about his stamina.

For JDS, Carwin brings a similar build and background to Lesnar, although his striking is much more dangerous. Dos Santos is predicting a finish on one side or the other.

"His boxing skills are great," Dos Santos told Sherdog. "It's gonna be a great fight with tough blows from both sides. I would say that it will end by knockout."