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)
After coming up short in his bid to take the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title from Junior dos Santos back on Memorial Day Weekend (May 26, 2012) at UFC 146, the path Frank Mir was to take next was a rather uncertain and blurry one.
It was, after all, his third consecutive loss in title fights and a fourth chance at capturing gold seemed very unlikely for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts foreseeable future.
So where was he to go after his loss to "Cigano?"
After defeating Josh Barnett in the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Cormier was contractually obligated to fight once more inside the Hexagon before he was allowed to make the jump over to the UFC. With no top heavyweight free agents out there worthy enough to challenge Daniel (sorry Tim Sylvia), Zuffa officials decided Mir would make the perfect opponent for the wrestling wizard.
Mir, for one, didn't disagree with his bosses and actually felt that seeing as how he was coming off a loss, a major high profile fight against an undefeated (10-0) champion like Cormier was right up his alley.
He said as much on his recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"They came to me. I pretty much took the summer off. I was hanging out at the time with the kids and I got a phone call and was presented with an opportunity, that, you know, coming off of a loss, makes a lot of sense to me and it seems like a positive step forward."
Unlike other UFC fighters who have been offered fights in Strikeforce, Mir doesn't see competing for the organization as a step down:
"No, they are owned by the same, ZUFFA, one is on pay-per-view (PPV) and one is on Showtime. I don't really see it as a step down as far as competition. Cormier is a top competitor and he has shown that in his last couple of fights. Like I said, I was coming off a loss and fighting for the title in Strikeforce, to me, it's a way to stepping up the ranks again quickly. I was asked, and I was like, 'Sure.' I didn't see much of a negative."
In breaking down his upcoming opponent, Mir believes he will have to be on point with his entire mixed martial arts (MMA) arsenal, praising Cormier's' recent performances:
"The Barnett win actually impressed me extremely. Cormier obviously has an extremely strong wrestling background. I don't think it takes a genius to figure that out. And then his striking has been coming along. I was kind of curious to see how he would do against submissions, and there was a couple times, one that I can remember right now when there was a pretty legitimate attempt on his leg, and he didn't panic and had the defense to get out of it. And so, I feel that he's a very dangerous opponent. I still feel that I have to pick his game apart. I think that if we fight each other, I'd have the advantage in striking and submissions, but as far as whether the fight stays on the feet or goes down, I don't think I'm going to have much of a choice. Wherever he wants to fight me, I'm going to have to be prepared for all areas."
The bout is scheduled to take place later this fall; however, officials a time and place have yet to be announced.
Are you surprised Mir accepted a bout with Cormier with no hesitation given the fact that most people see fighting in Strikeforce as a step down once you have competed under the bright lights of the UFC? Who has the most to gain and lose in the battle of the two talented heavyweights?