Originally written on 5thRound.com  |  Last updated 5/31/12

After undergoing two back surgeries within the span of a year, Shane Carwin (Pictured) is well on his way down the road to recovery as he’s just been medically cleared for contact. If all goes according to the master plan, the former UFC interim heavyweight champ will be back in action by the beginning of autumn.

“I informed UFC matchmaker [Joe Silva] that I would like to fight in early Fall 2012,” Carwin wrote on his official website. “I would like to be able to fight every three or four months. Barring injury, I intend to leave the UFC Octagon and head back to the Grudge Training Center to continue the climb.

“I am 100% and I feel like a younger version of my former self. The UFC should look into adding some padding in the gloves because I plan on crushing my opponents.”

The 37-year-old underwent a “foraminotomy” in November of 2010 to enlarged the passageway where the spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal. Surgeons removed bone and/or tissue that obstructed the passageway and pinched the spinal nerve root, which often caused severe inflammation and pain.

Carwin thought he was in the clear until an October 2011 MRI revealed a disc in his lower back had penetrated into the nerves. His doctor gave him two options; retire and postpone surgery for a few years or undergo the operation to resume his career.

The charismatic slugger opted to go under the knife and has been on the mend ever since. With ample amount of time on his hands, Carwin took the opportunity to perfect his craft in the gym.

“The time off has allowed me to focus on me. Work on the fundamentals of the sport and improve. Maybe most important, to fall in love with the sport again,” he expressed. “It is a rare thing when you have your trainers and the time to work on what you need. That has been me for the last few months. Working on my fundamentals.”

The part-time engineer blasted out of the mixed martial arts gates by winning his first 12 professional bouts in the opening round. He has since lost his last two fights, with his most recent coming in a unanimous decision defeat to now-champ Junior dos Santos in a top contender contest at UFC 131 in June.

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