Those of you who follow the UFC's anemic heavyweight division can't help but know about Shane Carwin. The UFC basically has Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Big Nog and...well that's about it when it comes to legit heavyweights. Nog is nearing the end of a great career, Lesnar is anything but proven and Mir looks good lately but there are lingering questions about his work ethic. The UFC desperately needs some legitimate new blood to pin their hopes on for the future of the heavyweight division. The man they clearly seem to be grooming to fill that role is Shane Carwin.
Granted, the stand-out NCAA wreslter has looked good in each of his first two UFC fights, but look at his opponents. Christian Wellisch and Neil Wain. Not exactly top-shelf talent. This Saturday he steps in against Gabriel Gonzaga in the first real test of his MMA skills in the octagon. Gonzaga is the BJJ black belt best known for the devastating head kick that KO'd Mirko Crop Cop back in April 2007. So far Carwin has been able to stop his first two opponents in round one. If he can do the same with Gonzaga he will take a meaningful step towards living up to the hype that the UFC is pumping for him. However, if he struggles, and especially if he loses decisively, it will be a pretty big blow to his reputation. After losing to Couture and Werdum, Gonzaga was essentially relegated to a gatekeeper role in the UFC heavyweight division, so if he is too much for Carwin then it stands to reason that Shane is not ready for the big time. Maybe he never will be. The UFC needs talent in this weight class but Shane Carwin has a lot to prove before he truly lives up to the role that has been carved out for him.
Question of the Day: Is Shane Carwin a legitimate contender in the UFC Heavyweight division?