|UFC fighter Shane Carwin, who is in Edmonton, Alta., for a training session with soldiers, poses for a picture at the Lancaster Canadian Military base just north of Edmonton, Aug. 19, 2011. (RYAN MCLEOD/ QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Soldiers put their dukes up against Ultimate Fighter Shane Carwin.
Carwin worked with troops in the Lord Strathcona's Horse armoured regiment of the Canadian Forces with proceeds going to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.
The one-time interim UFC Heavyweight Champion said he was honoured to coach the Strathconas' training camp.
"This is my first time on a base and it's been a tremendous experience for me," Carwin said. "All the way down from the leadership to the troops, these guys are a class act.
"Honestly, they made me feel like maybe I could be in the military. These guys are the true heroes out there that I look up to."
Lt. Trevor Cadieu of the Strats joked that if Carwin wanted, they'd be more than happy to "set him up with one of our tanks."
The Royal Canadians worked with Kamikaze Punishment to set up the training camp. Kamikaze Punishment is an organization devoted to bringing MMA fans and stars together to support the MS Society.
The regiment chose Carwin because of his perseverance when fighting Brazilian heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos at UFC 131 on June 11 in Vancouver.
"This guy did close combat with his opponent, he had to deal with tremendous adversity," Cadieu said, calling Carwin a "natural warrior."
"He showed a never-quit attitude, and in short, he epitomized our motto, which is perseverance."
Carwin was defeated by dos Santos via unanimous decision. Carwin has a 12-2 win-loss record featuring seven knockouts.
Carwin instructed 40 troops on both standing and ground defence techniques using various forms of mixed martial arts. He was assisted by two jiu jitsu experts from Brazil.
Soldiers were shown hand-to-hand combat and learned how to disarm an enemy with knife training.
Master Warrant Officer Rob Clarke said it was an honour to work with Carwin on a personal level.
"Using things Shane has gone through in his professional world, he helped train them and sharpen their minds as we head into battle very similarly to the way Shane does," Clarke said.
As Carwin wrapped up his two-day camp with a question-and-answer session, he acknowledged the difficult work the troops have ahead of them.
"The reason we all have our freedoms is because of the troops," Carwin said. "It's an honour for me to be apart of this and be here. I'm very humbled."