UFC 100 is set to go down from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, July 11. The monumental fight card is poised to be perhaps the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) event in the relatively short history of the sport.
The hoopla for event reached a fevered pitch today with the second installment of the UFC 100 media call. The cast of characters got much bigger this time, however, featuring heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and interim champion Frank Mir.
The pair will collide to unify the title in just 11 days.
Today’s conference could have been titled, "The Frank Mir Show," because he dazzled with his verbal stamina. In fact, if Mir can display that sort stamina in the Octagon on fight night, he will have no problem going five rounds. Lesnar, on the other hand, was much more succinct with his comments and was surprisingly asked fewer questions.
The call kicked off with Mir being asked how he gameplans for someone like Brock Lesnar.
"I looked at what Brock was successful at in his past fights," Mir said. "Obviously I plan on him adding onto that skill set. His wrestling is the dominant area of his fighting facet but his boxing has been successful as of late. On the ground, he will look to take me down and establish a dominant position, push me up against the cage. He will use his size and power to his advantage and look to reign down punches. I can’t play a catch up game with size and strength. If I roll my dice in that department I am going to come up short. Going head-to-head is not the smartest gameplan. I will use technique to take advantage of my agility and movement."
Mir went on to talk about how much better Lesnar has gotten since their first encounter at UFC 81: "Breaking Point" back in early 2008 and how that makes it hard to gameplan for him.
"Brock started out with a great competitive background," Mir pointed out. "The hardest part has been watching tape on him because you don’t know much more he is going to improve with each fight. You look at his first fight and he flew across the cage. Then the next fight from Heath to Randy you see him very composed. It is only taking him one fight to fix certain things. It makes it a little difficult on my part to assess what we're going to prepare for. To make it easy, we prepared for the worst case scenario that Brock knows everything I know about mixed martial arts and on top of that he is bigger and stronger and faster then I am (laughs)."
Talk quickly turned to any animosity that has built up leading up to the fight.
"I don’t have any animosity," said Lesnar. "I don’t dislike Frank in any way other than he has a win over me. This is a sport and I consider myself a gentleman and sportsmanlike conduct takes precedence. When it comes to July 11 and us getting into the Octagon we definitely won’t be best friends. Like I said, I hate to lose and revenge will be the key factor for me."
"There should never be harsh feelings with someone you compete with," Mir added. "Any professional athlete, when you get him going talking about his competitor, we will get riled up and were ready to go. If there is any animosity, I think it’s coming from both of us in that we don’t have the respect we fully want in the division. Brock is coming in with only four fights. He wants to push forward with his credibility. And for me, after my accident, I had so many bad fights in a row. Now coming back on the winning streak I am looking to create that respect for myself as well."
Lesnar followed up on the respect angle by saying he doesn’t give a damn.
"I don’t run around looking for respect. I just want to get in there and do my job. I enjoy what I am doing. I have the best job in the world. I get paid to train and fight. There are four million people without jobs right now so I feel very fortunate. There are going to be critics and jealous people and those that pretend to be your friend. I don’t give a damn what they think. The only thing that matters is that I am happy and my family is happy."
When it came to the issues of weight the two fighters appeared headed in opposite directions.
"I will probably come in a little under with my weight for the last fight," Mir revealed. "It’s just the training I did this time around. I have never purposely got on the scale and thought let me cut down on or add some calories. I have always just asked myself do I feel good. I usually have to get on the scale to know what I actually weigh. So I think I will come into this fight lighter. "
"Today I finished up at about 275 pounds," Brock stated. "I’ve finished my workout for the day. Cutting weight is not that difficult. This camp I have made three or four different times already. I watch what I eat real well. It is not a huge task to make 265 pounds. I do have to put some thought into it and a little extra effort. The weight limit is 265 and that is what I will weigh the night before (laughs).
Lesnar’s laugh seemed to allude to the fact that when he steps into the Octagon Saturday night he will weigh much more then the 265 weight class limit.
When Mir was asked about Brock’s power vs. his technique he was quick to point out the limitations in that stereotype. Brock followed up by adding that he is more then just about size and power.
"Its kind of funny, it’s a real simple way to look at it," Mir said. "If I go to any gym I am likely going to be the most powerful guy there. And Brock, it’s not like he is not knowledgeable on technique. He spends every day training. He has trained with world class guys for the past few years. On paper obviously those are the two things that stand out. Frank knows submissions and Brock is a strong guy. But there is definitely a lot more to it than that."
"I have improved dramatically since my first fight," Lesnar countered. "My main focus isn’t lifting weights. I am a fighter now and I want to evolve into the most well rounded fighter. I am not going to leave any stone unturned. I am working on submissions, submission defense, striking, knees, leg kicks, learning to defend everything. It’s not just an offensive sport. I am learning both sides of the spectrum. I have brought the best trainers in to evolve. I have left no stone unturned.
The call culminated when Mir was asked, "If you are preparing for Brock to be bigger, stronger and faster and have just as much technique, if that’s the case and he has improved that much, how can you possibly win?"
Mir didn't hesitate with a response.
"A lot of fighters think about their advantages and it becomes their blanket of security. If they are more conditioned they think well at least I will be able to outlast my opponent. If they think they are better at boxing, then they will be able to out strike their opponent. Everyone looks for an advantage on paper to curve their nerves. Let’s show us and Brock does know as much about MMA as I do.
"Let’s safely assume he is bigger and stronger," Mir continued. "Why does that necessarily secure a victory? It’s a fight and you have to go out there. The supposed best football teams don’t always win because people make mistakes and their mentality and let them down. You can’t a fight perfectly every night, people make mistakes in battle. When I go into my practices I have mentally let go of the idea of advantages. You have to let go of the ego in the cage. You can’t put your confidence on advantages. I have seen fighter break that time when they had better cardio but their opponent didn’t wear out.
"Like I said, I expect the worst. So I don’t worry about anything and I can get down to fighting. It’s like a solider going into battle. If you sit there worrying about getting back home you’re not going to make it. You’re not thinking about doing what’s important. So I have prepared for the toughest Brock Lesnar people can imagine. So I won’t be mentally broke when I throw three arm bars on him and he got out. I expect him to get out. I’d be surprised if I actually submitted him. I am preparing to transition like a mad man to get to a submission. That’s how you have the strength and are mentally tough for that situation."
Mir certainly brings an interesting philosophy to the cage for this fight. Will his "prepare for the worst" mentality allow him to emerge victorious or will the bigger, stronger, faster, improved technique of Brock Lesnar be too much?
Sound off, Maniacs!