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Shane Carwin Returns In June At UFC 131, Junior dos Santos Gets UFC Interim Title Wish

Shane Carwin announced the date of his next fight on his official site this morning. Interestingly, he was originally going to fight Roy Nelson at UFC 130, but the UFC changed their minds and slotted Frank Mir against Nelson instead. Carwin will now fight on June 11 in Vancouver at UFC 131.

I saw where MMAJunkie wrote that I will be on the June 11th card in Vancouver.  As you can imagine my management team has been in close contact with the UFC during my recovery.  A couple of weeks ago they requested that I fight in late may or early June.  I have subsequently “tweeted” that those are my target return dates.  I want to fight as much as possible this year.

So last week we got the call from Joe Silva asking if we would consider fighting Nelson at UFC 130.  We accepted the match up and UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva said that it was 90% a go.  The next day we were informed that they went a different direction for Nelson and that they want me to fight someone at UFC 131 in Vancouver.  I have once again rapidly accepted the date.

Carwin isn’t sure who his opponent will be, or at least isn’t telling, but some other rather interesting news also came out today that may provide a hint as who it could be. Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole revealed on Pro MMA Radio that Junior dos Santos will fight for an interim UFC heavyweight title, but didn’t know against who. Transcribed via CagePotato:

“[Dos Santos] is going to fight for an interim title. They just have to find a contender to fight him. So for that one, I don’t think he should have to wait because he was going to fight for a championship. The UFC will declare the winner of Dos Santos versus “X” the interim champion, so it is his championship fight. He will go down in history if he wins that fight; even if he loses subsequently to Cain on the way back, he’ll be known as a former UFC heavyweight champion, just like Frank Mir’s second reign. When Shane Carwin beat Mir he became the interim champion, so there were guys that even though the belt was out, they were still recognized as a champion. I think that situation is very simple. Dos Santos should fight, he will fight, they’ll find a heavyweight contender he’ll fight for the interim championship while Cain heals and that will be that. Just like [the runner up in the] Miss America [pageant], he’ll assume the duties [of the champion] while the champion is healing.”

Obviously, there aren’t many choices for potential interim title contenders out there. With Frank Mir and Roy Nelson slotted, the only two that would make any remote sense are Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. Lesnar is coming off the devastating loss to Cain Velasquez and no one knows if and when he wants to fight again. Of course, Carwin is coming off his loss to Lesnar, but he at least looked good for a round. He would make more sense for an interim title fight than Lesnar would right now. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

With Strikeforce’s upcoming heavyweight tournament, it’s rather stunning how quickly all the interest and excitement  in the heavyweight division has shifted from the UFC to Strikeforce.

Update: Dana White confirmed today that there will not be an interim title on the line, but JDS will fight Brock Lesnar in June for the next title shot.

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