INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 25: Frank Mir reacts after defeating Mirko Cro Cop during their UFC heavyweight bout at Conseco Fieldhouse on September 25 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Frank Mir is a very opinionated man, and he knows how to get under people's skin.
With the loss of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard as the main event, Mir's heavyweight tilt against Roy Nelson was thrust into the spotlight as the co-main event of UFC 130 and no one likes the spotlight more than the Sityodtong southpaw.
Mir fielded a plethora of questions during the UFC 130 conference call yesterday (May 19) ranging from his feelings on Brock Lesnar and George St. Pierre to, of course, his upcoming match with "Big Country" on Saturday (May 28, 2011).
The former two time heavyweight champion got things started, surprisingly, by giving his thoughts on how he matches up with fellow top heavyweight Junior dos Santos.
"I just think I match up well with (Dos Santos). He's a very good boxer. I think he has excellent hands but sometimes falls into a pattern of only using his boxing and not utilizing his jiu-jitsu and all his other skills."
It wouldn't be an interview with Frank Mir if someone didn't ask him about his feelings on Brock Lesnar. The Las Vegas native explained how he thought the Lesnar/Dos Santos fight would have gone down had Brock not come down with a second stint of diverticulitis.
"I think it was kind of even. It depended how Brock had recovered from the Cain Velasquez fight. If he decided he didn't want to be a striker and he just came in and wanted to take Dos Santos down, I see that happening and I thought Dos Santos would have a hard time with him on the ground."
With a victory, Mir will be right back "in the mix" in the heavyweight division, but he fully admitted that he's not looking past Nelson at this point because doing so has come back to bite him before.
"I think it depends on my performance. Roy's a tough guy. I'm really just looking for the best fight. I haven't put much thought about what's beyond it. I think in the past, I've been caught looking past my opponents and I don't want to do that to Roy. I think anybody that overlooks him ends up having a rough night."
Mir was chastised for his last fight, a lackluster main event with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 119 in what was described as one of the worst pay-per-views in UFC history. His response to the criticism in layman's terms was: it takes two to tango.
"The guys in the UFC are very tough. You're always trying to be the best mixed martial arts fighter. At the end of the day, there's somebody else in the ring that's trying to avoid everything that I want to happen. If the other guys start cooperating more, maybe I'd look better."
"I listen to the criticism because I know that if I'm not putting on fun fights or having great performances, that's going to effect match-ups and paydays for me in the future. At the same time, I'm balancing that with winning. No matter how exciting I lose a fight, winning is still the best and most important. Obviously, if I can win a fight excitingly, if I see an opportunity to make a fight exciting, I'll take it but not at the cost of losing a fight."
The Mark Dellagrotte trained fighter also rose to the defense of UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre. As a guy who's been put under the microscope himself, he has a unique perspective on GSP's situation.
"Every time GSP steps into the Octagon, he's facing the number two guy in the welterweight division. I think to try and expect him to just run everybody over is a tall order. I think the fact that he's still winning rounds after rounds and dominating, I don't have any criticism for him. I thought he did an excellent job against Shields, a guy who hadn't lost in 5-6 years ... and with the eye injury he had after the fight. It was obvious to everybody what happened. I still think he's the champ and I've been impressed with him and try to take pointers from him."
As has been a running storyline in the lead-up to his UFC 130 fight, Mir was asked about his past grappling loss to Roy Nelson nearly eight years ago in a jiu-jitsu tournament. Surprisingly, his answer didn't exude much confidence.
"The match happened and Roy was better than me at the time in jiu-jitsu grappling. I don't think it matters any more. He's a different fighter now and I've also improved and now we can mix in punches. It could have been worse for me in that match if he'd been allowed to punch me."
Well Maniacs, does Mir seem focused on his upcoming bout with Nelson? Or is he letting his mind wander to matters that shouldn't be of his concern? He's already mentioned he thinks he matches up with with Cain Velasquez as good as anyone else as well.