ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

After Shane Carwin officially announced his return and free agency, the Heavyweight division got a little bit more interesting.

Unfortunately, the UFC may have to come up on their offer. Until then, Carwin is a giant, dangerous man for hire at organizations like Bellator, Rizin or any Russian fighting federation that Fedor runs. There are a lot of possibilities for Carwin, even outside the UFC.

Here is a rundown of the top five possible opponents for Carwin to knock out in one punch.

5. Bobby Lashley

With Vitaly Minakov stripped of the Bellator Heavyweight title, there is a place for a new Heavyweight king. Bobby Lashley looks to be a prime choice to hold the title. He is a leviathan, former pro wrestler with legit wrestling accolades and has successfully made the jump to MMA. Lashley sounds a lot like a previous Carwin opponent, and a fight between these two for a vacant Bellator title would be great. After all, Bellator isn't shy about making immediate title shots. But, would Lashley take the fight?

4. Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione was the third UFC fighter after Phil Davis to jump over to Bellator (Josh Thomson and Benson Henderson preceded him). He's got some pretty decent wins on his record, with victories over Kimbo Slice, current UFC hype train Derrick Lewis and Gabriel Gonzaga. Since suffering two losses to top Heavyweights Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell, he's on a two fight win streak in Bellator. This would be a good scrap under any organizational banner.

3. Brock Lesnar

Of course, Carwin could "do it again, brother' with Brock Lesnar. That would be one giant fight. Now, the possibility of this fight gets a little murky with Lesnar failing his drug test and Carwin not fighting in the UFC until they pay him what he's worth. This is where things get interesting...

However, it seems like Carwin wasn't just talking empty words. As a man truly exploring his options, he would actually consider pulling a reverse CM Punk, and go into pro wrestling. Holy crap, big Shane Carwin in the WWE?!

2. Fedor Emelianenko

You can't even talk about the Heavyweight division without mentioning Fedor Emelianenko. It's a law, somewhere. Despite getting punched so hard by Fabio Maldonado at EFN 50 that his legs were replaced with those of a newborn Giraffe, Fedor still has that legendary mythos that follows him. A fight between Carwin and even the shadow of Fedor's former self would be astronomical. Do this in Bellator, do this in some obscure Russion organization, on a barge or even Rizin.

1. Possibly Multiple Legends in Rizin

The most exciting possibility could be fighting in Japan for Rizin. In Rizin, Carwin could be fighting waterfall-training sumo Baruto, Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop—all in the span of a couple of months! While Carwin has said he and people are looking to fight before the end of this year, it may not happen. However, even if he can't participate in Rizin's 16 Man Openweight Grand Prix, I'm sure they could find a spot for him on their huge New Year's Eve show. It looks like Carwin is interested and will be speaking with them soon. ...Shane Carwin versus Igor Vovchanchyn?


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