Over the past five years, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir is 6-2. During that span, his only two losses have come to Brock Lesnar (UFC 100) and Shane Carwin (UFC 111). Lesnar is a former division champion while "The Engineer" is a former Interim champion.
Lesnar and Carwin also have two losses since being at or near the top of the mountain.
So in terms of where Mir fits into the puzzle that is the 265-pound title chase, is it fair to put him fifth? If the winner of Lesnar vs Alistair Overeem gets Junior dos Santos in 2012, that leaves them tied at second. Cain Velasquez, who was undefeated until wearing a crown of Brazilian bricks at UFC on FOX, is likely third.
Carwin fourth, Mir fifth?
Here's what Mir told media members (via Heavy.com) about his place among the heavyweight elite.
"I think that the only advantage of the heavyweight division is it's not that deep of a pool. That's just the nature of the business. If I'm victorious next weekend, that's three wins in a row. I think I'll stick my head up there again."
Mir holds wins over Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo, two middle-of-the-pack'ers who've been keeping the gate over the past year or so. Matt Mitrione was on his way to bigger and better things until failing his first big test against the aforementioned Parisian.
That leaves Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 4-2 since a 2007 Octagon debut, as the proverbial dark horse in this neck-and-neck race to the 265-pound finish line.
All he has to do is win.
He'll have that chance in the co-main event of UFC 140 this Saturday night (Dec. 10, 2011) at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. He can also avenge a 2008 loss to Mir in the process, which "Minotauro" attributes to poor health and not poor defense.
If he fails, that gives Mir three straight victories.
Is it then time to start talking about his place in the heavyweight race? Or not yet?