Shane Carwin's last outing in the UFC was over a year ago against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 131. For three rounds, Carwin was on the receiving end of an epic beating. The story heading into that fight was that Carwin had the wrestling to put Dos Santos on his back and the power to put him to sleep.
As the story goes, Carwin sat on the sidelines for over a year after the rehab process following back surgery took much longer than expected. The first time that fans have seen him in over a year is as a coach on the current season of the Ultimate Fighter opposite of Roy Nelson.
He was supposed to fight Nelson at the Ultimate Fighter finale as has become tradition with the Ultimate Fighter. That fight is now up in the air as Carwin has suffered a knee injury, as he tweeted earlier this afternoon. His manager Jason Genet claims that it's not a serious injury and that nothing was torn in his knee.
However, the story of Shane Carwin and debilitating injuries while in the UFC runs much deeper.
He was scheduled to face Roy Nelson at UFC 125, but announced on his website that he needed to pull out due to back and neck pain. He would get surgery to correct the problems on November 2, 2010. He then had back surgery again on October 16, 2011.
This knee injury is the third major injury in as many years and a clear indication that he's aging must faster than normal.
At 37 years old, Carwin's best days are long behind him. While he's still sporting an imposing physique, his body is failing him. From neck problems, to back injuries, to now a knee injury, he's the MMA version of Humpty Dumpty.
His whole aura of intimidation was based on his ridiculous superhero-like musculature and one punch knockout power. A literal walking, talking superman. Heck, he was even compared to a young Mike Tyson by USA Today.
But with all these injuries stacking up and two straight losses in the UFC, he's just another aging broken down fighter.
Gone is the man who put fear in the hearts of heavyweights everywhere by ending four straight UFC fights in the first round. Gone is the man who obliterated Brock Lesnar's face in the first round. What we have now is a fighter who is one step closer to retirement than he is to capturing UFC gold.
With every training camp, with every fight, his body is breaking down. The literal weight of carrying a huge amount of muscle mass is starting to take its toll on his body
It's gotta be tough for a once dominant fighter to come to the realization that he just can't do it anymore. His two career losses were devastating and likely eat at him everyday he that he steps into the gym. The time away from fighting was likely equally as difficult.
The sobering truth is that Carwin is like Jens Pulver and Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz and the countless others who grow old in this sport. He's a dinosaur in a world of spring chickens (it makes sense, dinosaurs had feathers) and can't compete with the best of the best.
Time between fights is extending and performances are suffering. It's time to call it a quits and reflect on his accomplishments.