When news broke that Alistair Overeem had elevated testosterone levels discovered during a surprise drug test after the UFC 146 press conference back on March 27, 2012, fans feared that the much anticipated title fight between two of the best strikers in mixed martial arts (MMA) today in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and "The Demolition Man," would more than likely be scrapped.
Frank Mir, for one, probably didn't shed any tears at the news. In fact, before Overeem was even pulled, Mir volunteered himself as an eager replacement. So when UFC officials confirmed fans fears by making the the decision over the weekend to take him up on his offer as "The Reem's" replacement for the event that is set to go down on May 26, 2012, Mir more than likely grinned ear-to-ear.
With the change, Mir will have to now shift his training to focus on facing a very accomplished and dangerous striker in "Cigano" rather than his original opponent -- a very accomplished and dangerous wrestler in Cain Velasquez -- at the Memorial Day weekend event.
However, when it comes to the striking department, Mir is no spring chicken.
Mir became the first man to ever hand MMA veteran, and overall legend, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, his first knockout loss at UFC 92 in 2008. More recently at UFC 119, the Las Vegas native knocked out one of the men who was widely considered to be the best striker in the sport during his heyday in Mirko Filipovic.
But will the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt stand and swing leather with one of the most heavy handed hitters in the game today?
Perhaps ... check out what Mir had to say earlier today (April 23, 2012) on "The MMA Hour:"
"Obviously his strongest, I don't think it's a secret, is his boxing skill sets. I don't want to fight him in that area, and will as little as possible. I'm not going to do something silly and stupid to try and rush out of the boxing range. There will be times when have to box with each other, because we start at opposite ends of the cage, we have to move through that level of the game, but if given a choice, If for whatever reason he slips and falls, I'm going to get on top of him and not let him back up. He is going to have to work his way back up to his feet."
Mir was last in action at UFC 140 where he faced off, once again, against Nogueira. This time, he became the first man to ever submit the submission specialist with a gruesome arm-shattering kimura. Ironically enough, "Nog" served as "Cigano's" mentor and jiu-jitsu instructor during his rise to stardom.
So how does Mir feel Junior will feel like knowing he is stepping in against the last man to defeat his mentor?
"I'm sure he fights for his own reasons. I mean, if he says that to sell pay-per-views, I'm sure it might be thrown out there. But as far as deep down inside, when he's in the locker room getting ready to walk out to face me, when you're a fierce competitor like that, you don't really do it for outside sources. If you do it for any other reason other than what's inside you, the internal drive that you have to want to conquer this, it'll fall apart. I think it will be a nice feather in his cap if he wins to say, 'Oh I got one for my master,' type scenario. I do think it has to be a little nerve-racking that the guy you roll with as a coach got submitted by the guy you're about to face. That has to be a little bit in the back of your mind."
Winning his last three in a row, Mir was undoubtedly the best option to step up and fill the vacant slot left by Overeem, despite the Army of Doom's best efforts to convince UFC President Dana White to give Mark Hunt the bid, which White, of course, quickly dismissed.
The UFC 146 fight card switch-a-roo is already sparking several hot topics and flashpoints. However, none might be more volatile -- and personal -- than the "revenge" or "pay back" angle.
Mir, one of the more cerebral fighters in the sport, is not afraid to ruffle feathers or go agains the grain to promote a fight. While dos Santos has, until now, taken the less personal "high road" Mir is sparking the tinder.