Shane Carwin at UFC 131Former UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin has always been able to get up for his fights, if solely for the athletic challenge that a fight provides.

When he steps in the Octagon across from fellow Ultimate Fighter 16 coach Roy Nelson, there is still that challenge, but also the added factor that Carwin just plain doesn’t like Nelson.

“Roy is one to talk behind your back a lot or when you’re not there,” said Carwin in a recent interview on AXS TV’s Inside MMA. “As soon as you’re away, there he is talking about you again or talking behind your back.”

Having a dislike for your opponent when your sport is mixed martial arts can be healthy. Most fighters, like Carwin, are motivated by the challenge of competition, but not wanting to be shown up by someone that you have disdain for makes it a little easier to go that extra round of sparring at practice.

And especially when the person you hold that disdain for is someone like Nelson, whom Carwin still regards as a talented opponent, whether he likes the man or not.

“Roy and I may be polar opposites in our personalities and things, but he’s a talented fighter,” Carwin told reporter Ron Kruck. “There’s been a lot of animosity between us and I can’t wait to punch the guy in the face.”

That’s actually extra good news for fight fans, as they suffered a scare in September, when Carwin had to skip a promotional trip to the U.K. after suffering a knee injury in training.

Alarm bells immediately went off, but Carwin’s manager, Jason Genet of Ingrained Media, told MMAWeekly.com that he injured the knee while in wrestling practice, but he suffered no major tears or damage to the knee. A little rehab and working with his strength and conditioning coach should keep Carwin on track for the fight.

Carwin reinforced those hopes in the Inside MMA interview, acknowledging some “partially torn ligaments and tendons,” but adding that he full intends to be ready come fight time at the TUF 16 Finale slated for Dec. 15 in Las Vegas.

It’s somewhat rare that a fighter nursing an injury reveals the nature of said injury, especially leading up to a bout, but Carwin – who is now 37 years of age – has a different perspective at this point in his career than many other fighters.

He still holds down a day job as an engineer, so Carwin has never fully relied on fighting as the sole focal point of his professional life. So when coming off of back-to-back losses, into a headlining bout on FX, a knee injury in tow, he doesn’t care if Nelson targets his injury. In fact, he welcomes it.

“If he goes for my knee, good for him, I hope he does, because I’ll knock him out then.”

Check out more from Shane Carwin in this video clip of his interview with Ron Kruck on Inside MMA

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