Frank Mir tells it like it is.
Like him or not, there's no one in the sport who is less afraid to be brutally honest than the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion.
Mir is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Roy Nelson at UFC 130 in a fight that he dominated from start to finish with knees in the clinch, aggressive takedowns, ground and pound and even a judo throw.
With the win, he's now one step closer to potentially fighting for a shot at what would be his third UFC title.
The heavyweight submission specialist was recently a guest this week on Pro MMA Radio to talk about his thoughts on the rest of the heavyweight division. Of course, it wouldn't be a Frank Mir interview if he wasn't asked about Brock Lesnar. The primary topic of discussion was Roy Nelson's future in the heavyweight division.
Find out which of Frank's sparring partners he thinks would easily beat "Big Country" after the jump.
Pro MMA Radio: Let's get the injuries out of the way. How's the jaw? How's the rib? How's everything going? Are you ok?
Frank Mir: Oh, I'm good. I just think there was a lot of confusion after the fight. They asked me how my ribs were feeling and I said my lungs were still burning but that was just because I had a little bit of a bout of bronchitis in the week before the fight so I was pushing myself that hard in the fight and I brought some phlegm up and my ribs were just burning. It was more of a sternum problem. There was no broken rib or anything. I don't know how that got skewed. With the jaw, Roy did land a couple shots. They asked me how I felt and I said my teeth weren't lining up just yet. I'm used to sparring with (Mike) Whitehead and he hits pretty hard. After you get hit, your joint there, the mandible fills up with blood in the TMJ joint and your teeth don't line up right. It takes a couple days to go away.
That's all I said, it would be ok in a couple of days and of course, though, the doctors are gonna be more cautious saying, "well, it was off by a millimeter so that could mean a fracture, we're not sure," and I just wanted to wait for the swelling to go down. They wanted to err on the side of caution which I completely agree with. I'm a professional athlete. If there's a problem, I need to get it fixed immediately because if I'm not fighting, I'm not providing for my family and I'm not improving if I'm not in the gym so I'm all about trying to take care of myself ... That night I was eating food no problem. I was a little sore, but probably not as sore as Roy. (laughs)
Pro MMA Radio: When they first called you with Roy, given that you were coming off a win, he wasn't. Roy was not someone you felt was moving you up the ladder, you were very open about that. Did you feel in a sense like "why are they calling me with Roy?" because it's unusual when one guy comes off a win and one guy comes off a loss.
Frank Mir: At first I was. I was like, "wait a minute, he lost," but I guess the best you can do in defeat is defeat in an admirable loss. He looked like a hero in his loss against dos Santos but, you know, he still never formed much of an offense in that fight. He just took a beating and kept on coming. I know people were not happy with my aggressiveness in the Mirko fight but it was technical sound. I was never in any trouble. I never got caught with anything or got hurt and I finished it with a knockout. It took me a while to wade in but I made sure the water was perfect before getting in I guess. I still didn't see the correlation between the two of us meeting up.
Then it was explained to me, Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas with two guys born and raised in Las Vegas. Then I realized it was more about a fight with a story behind it, as much as they could make it and then it made sense to me. Obviously, on a professional level, I would have liked to fight someone ranked in the top 10 to move me up status-wise but at least Roy was having enough respect from people. Really, the oddsmakers had us about even. I think the general consensus was that he was tough and I think a lot of the analysts and professionals around the sport were kinda making a case for him that it wasn't gonna be a blowout so I think that helped me out a little bit in regards to preparing for it. I was like, "really?! People really think he has a chance against me? Ok, well now I'm motivated to go in the gym."
Pro MMA Radio: Let's talk about Roy for a second. Dana's obviously upset with him. He said, "look, he should at least be around 240." I think there's an argument that with the proper discipline, his proper weight class would be 205. You've now fought him and you've fought a lot of the rest of the division. If you were sitting down with Roy one on one. What would you tell him about this weight issue and what he has to do for his future?
Frank Mir: I agree. I like Roy and I think that he's a very skilled fighter. He was able to land a couple punches in the fight but it really came down to the fact that his belly impedes his abilities. I think that he's a great fighter in spite of his belly and his weight, not because of it. His strength, his physical strength when we locked up, most of my training partners are light heavyweights felt stronger than him. That's why when we were against the cage, that's what really drew me in. I had my underhook. I'm like, "ok, this guy could pull my legs out underneath him and he still couldn't change levels on me." I could feel the strength that he had. He does need to go 205 and I've spoken to him and Jess, his wife, about that at one of the Expos. I know it's not easy to want to cut all that weight but I know he had talked about just changing his body composition, adding weight, getting bigger.
Well Roy, you're already 260 pounds. We weighed in the same. That means you've got to drop about 40 pounds of fat and add 40 pounds of muscle. That, to me, is a much harder task than just dropping 40 pounds of fat. Building muscle takes years to do. Even me, my muscle first that think I developed right after the Brock fight,was more water. I was more bloated, stuffing myself with protein. I didn't really feel as strong even though I was the same, even bigger than I am now. I feel stronger now just because of the consistency of the heavy lifting and now it's been two years and it's just now starting to neurologically fit in. So for Roy to want to, at 34, he's gonna be 35 this month, try to redo his whole body, I think it would be easier to go to 205. I think his half guard would come back, his takedown defense, his mobility, his footwork. I think he's quick and the power he does have I think he would retain because physically he wouldn't lose any muscle. He's a 205 pound guy with a tire on.
Pro MMA Radio: Sergio Non from USA Today told me he spent some time in your camp coming into it and he said that he thought watching you in your fight that you executed almost exactly what you'd been working on in camp which I assumed was a lot of knees and a lot of wrestling. Talk to me about the gameplan and were you surprised at how easy it was to execute that gameplan with Roy?
Frank Mir: I don't think ever in the fight I was thinking about how easy it was going just because of how dangerous he is. I really enjoy boxing but I think we took a step back on trying to be a slick boxer working from the outside like how I did with Nogueira. Reason being that Roy is willing to eat three, four or five shots just to be able to swing one over the top which he did in our fight anyways and still was able to land a right hand when I was trying to hit him with a knee towards the end of the first round. It was one of those situations like, "yeah, I could outbox him and land shot after shot after shot," but, you know, he has a really good chin and we've seen dos Santos and Andrei and other people have a hard time even though they're tagging him right on the button and here he goes throwing one over the top. I wasn't as concerned with being knocked out by him but still there's cuts, there's blood and we looked at crowding him more to nullify some of his sloppy behind-the-ear punching.
I was in close and I love to throw knees in the clinch and we worked a lot on that. Executing that there and also working takedowns against the cage. The one thing that helped me there was I had a sparring partner and trainer in Mike Whitehead who's better than Roy in every aspect of the game. Mike Whitehead is faster, more technical, stronger, a better wrestler, better jiu-jitsu, better boxing, you name it. That's my pre-fight warm-up to get ready for Roy. I had a lot of advantages going in so I got to play out the fight before it ever even happened.
Pro MMA Radio: It sounds like you think Whitehead would beat Roy.
Frank Mir: Oh no doubt. I've been in altercations now with both of them. I would have no problem betting on Mike to eek one out.
Pro MMA Radio: You've been famous in the past for adjusting your body to your opponent. If you were to fight Cain, do you think you'd fight here (260 lbs.) or would you drop down a little bit more given that size wouldn't be an issue with him?
Frank Mir: I think I would stay exactly where I'm at right now. I think this is optimal for me to perform at my best. I wouldn't try to be like him because I don't think I could ever compete with Cain in cardio. It's one of those things, his cardio is great. Can I try to close the gap to where it's not such a deciding factor? Yeah. I'm always gonna work on it. It's funny, BJ Penn and I were talking about aerobic capacity and your platform and I don't try to change things up close to a fight but I tried to listen to him and I took a mental note. Maybe after this fight, he can tell me what the Diaz brothers do. Maybe I could add that to my repertoire. That's one thing Cain has, power and speed so if I lost weight, I would lose a little power to still not be the same in cardio? I'll just have to make the fight a slower paced fight for him so if he tried to do something to push the pace, I'd have to make him pay for it every time. If you make a mistake, it's gonna hurt real bad. Make you hesitate, slow down. That's how boxers that are superior power punchers or strikers like to slow the pace against guys who like to push it like the Aaron Pryor type.
Pro MMA Radio: Ok, I wanna get your thoughts on the rest of the division. Shane Carwin / Junior dos Santos, what do you think happens there?
Frank Mir: Well I think dos Santos has some really good hands but I just don't believe he's as well-rounded as Carwin. I think Carwin is also a very dangerous striker. He may not have the diversity and it may not look as pretty but he just has to land that right hand and I don't think he has to land it as many times as dos Santos would have to. Plus with the threat of the takedown, dos Santos would have to worry about getting punched or taken down. I don't think Carwin is worried about looking at anything other than dos Santos' hands and when you only have to focus on one aspect of your opponent's game because they have no other aspect, it heightens your senses towards that. I think all-around, Carwin is the stronger guy, if he pushes dos Santos in the cage. Even looking at the dos Santos and Roy fight, I felt they were comparable in grappling strength against the cage and you saw what I did in the Roy fight. I could tell you that Carwin is waaaaaay stronger than Roy.
Pro MMA Radio: Brock Lesnar is scheduled to fight January-ish if all things go according to plan. Would you be interested in fighting Brock again?
Frank Mir: I would. I still think Brock poses a good fight. I wouldn't mind if he came back and looked a little dominating first just to make it look intriguing. I think with his last fight against Velasquez, I wouldn't want to diminish the victory that I would pose off of beating him like, "well, he did lose his last fight. He looked like garbage against Carwin and now he had surgery." I would like to remove a few of those things. If he comes out and smashes somebody then yeah. I think it makes sense and I would have to make sense for him too. If I go out there and people are like, "ehh, that's not worth watching," but I think now, with the improvement in my wrestling, everybody is sitting there making arguments like, "well, maybe it would be a more interesting fight the third time around than it has been."
Mir does have some pretty compelling arguments here.
What do you think, Maniacs? Should Roy drop a weight class? Has Lesnar's reputation really dropped so much that he'd have to dominate a guy to make a trilogy fight with Mir intriguing?