Shane Carwin at UFC 116

Shane Carwin at UFC 116

It will have been nearly a year out of action when Shane Carwin steps foot back in the Octagon at UFC 131 in Vancouver on Saturday night. Originally slated to fight a UFC newcomer, he is instead propelled into the main event to square off with number one heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos.

Carwin stepped in to face dos Santos when Brock Lesnar had to withdraw from the fight due to another bout with diverticulitis that required surgery.

It’s a big shift on just a couple weeks of notice, but a challenge that Carwin is happy to undertake. In fact, despite the magnitude of the fight, training for the fight didn’t undergo dramatic changes.

“The camp has stayed the same, it’s just the strategy has probably changed a little bit,” he told in an exclusive one-on-one interview little more than a week before fight time.

A victory slots Carwin right back into the title picture with a shot against current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who should return to fighting sometime this fall.

Carwin was originally slated to return much sooner than this, but recurring issues with his back and neck finally nudged him into corrective surgery. That coupled with a new diet and training regimen left Carwin much lighter than he was before, something that he’s excited about.

“It’s done wonders for me,” he reflected, particularly pointing to his mostly organic diet. “Honestly, it was probably the best thing that’s happened to me; it’s a lifelong change too.”

Carwin says the strength is there, the explosiveness has ramped up, and he’s ready to step in the Octagon with Junior dos Santos at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.

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