Shane Carwin made public his plans to return to MMA a couple months ago, and now you can consider it official.
Carwin has signed with Rizin Fighting Federation and his first fight back will take place late this year, according to MMA Fighting.
His Rizin debut will take place on Dec. 29 where Carwin will be competing in the promotion’s openweight World Grand Prix tournament.
The opening round took place on Sept. 25 where six fighters earned their way to the Dec. 29 event. That event will host the quarterfinals, and then two nights later on New Year’s Eve, the semifinals and the finals will take place to determine the winner.
Carwin will be getting a bye to the second round alongside Wanderlei Silva. Although, unlike Silva, Carwin’s opponent has yet to be determined.
The eight competitors set to compete on Dec. 29 are Carwin, Silva, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Amir Aliakbari, Szymon Bzorm, Valentin Moldavsky, Jiri Prochazka, and Baruto.
Carwin is now 41-years-old and has not fought professional since 2011. A former UFC interim heavyweight champion, he last bout took place at UFC 131 where he faced Junior dos Santos in the PPV’s main event. He lost via unanimous decision.
Prior to that, he had his unification heavyweight title fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 that saw him narrowly close to victory in the first round after he dropped Lesnar and followed up with heavy ground-and-pound for almost the entire remainder of the round.
Carwin, while holding an amateur wrestling background, was noted mostly for his knockout power — considered having among the heaviest hands the MMA history.