The Monster Blog: Ready for my second chance

I was honored and terrified when the UFC told me that Yahoo! Sports wanted me to blog ahead of my UFC 131 main event fight with Junior Dos Santos. Honored to be featured, and terrified of the mass exposure to my poor grammar habits. I have two degrees, but neither one of them helps me with writing this blog. For those of you still in school, let this blog be a shining example of why you should pay more attention in English class.

I was offered a ghost writer but I am so active on my Twitter account and my own social network The Shane Carwin fan community I figured my fans would know I’d had help so I decided to write this myself.

As I write this, I am 10 days and four hours from an opportunity to change my life and the path of my career as a mixed martial artist. The winner of my fight with Dos Santos gets the next shot at Cain Velasquez’s UFC heavyweight title.

Shane Carwin will share his thoughts with Yahoo! Sports readers leading up to UFC 131. His match with Brock Lesnar is sitll on his mind.
(Getty Images)

Last July, I was a few power shots away from becoming UFC champion. I was winning my UFC 116 fight with then-champ Brock Lesnar. I had him down and almost out and was on top of him landing big punches.

But then it all started to slip away. I was still in the dominant position and the crowd thought I was going to win … but then my body changed and the complexion of the fight changed. I could hear and see people in the crowd, they all thought I was about to win but something was wrong. It was weird. My body started to shut down. I could not find the energy to finish the fight. Brock said he felt my punches getting lighter and he realized it was not over, and like a true champion, he found a way to win, via choke, in the second round.

It is fights like this that make MMA so compelling and it is also the same thing that drives me to sacrifice the way I do in training. I want to take myself to that point again and be able to finish the fight and win the UFC title this time. I know I have the tools to do it. I just need to bring them all to the table.

I haven’t fought since that fight. It has been a hard road between then and now. As I went backstage, the doctors began to check me out and I went limp. My heart rate was way too high and I was in bad shape. Life changes very quickly: One minute I am seconds from finishing off Brock Lesnar to unify the UFC belt and the next I am hooked up to heart monitors being rushed to the emergency room with exhaustion.

My comeback fight was supposed to be against Roy Nelson last year. As I was preparing for the fight a nagging neck injury went from bad to worse after I was thrown to the ground by Brendan Schaub in training. While I thought I could work through the injury, as fighters often do and I have done in the past, my arm and then my hand went numb. I was forced to realize that I needed surgery and would have to pull out of the fight.

Sometimes bad things happen for a good reason, though, and with the man upstairs guiding me the surgery and recovery period allowed me time to take a good look at myself and why I lost the chance to become the undisputed UFC champion when it was within my grasp.

I took a long, hard, honest look at myself. I began to understand that my nutrition was playing a big part of my lack of energy. I began working with Josh Ford of Forged Fuel and he’s completely restructured my diet, and now here I am 35 pounds lighter and faster, but every bit as powerful. I have more energy and I feel a better fighting machine than I was last year. Before Brock, I had finished all my fights inside one round, but now I know that I can go one to finish fights at any stage in a bout.

Anyone who has bought a new car can’t wait to take it out and give it a real “test drive” and that’s how I feel about my re-tooled body.

In my next blog I’ll write more about the fight with Dos Santos, which I think is going to be an absolute war between two huge punchers, but, right now, I just want to say I am happy to be back in the title hunt!

If there’s anything you’d like me to cover next time, Tweet me at @ShaneCarwin.

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Updated Saturday, Jun 4, 2011