Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Frank Mir has always been one of the most intelligent individuals in mixed martial arts (MMA) when it comes to analyzing the flaws in a fighter's game, including his own.
Mir (16-6) has served as a cage side commentator for the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization and has also made multiple appearances as an analyst on UFC programming on FUEL TV.
His opinion is respected by many.
In an interview with Studio MMA at the 2012 World MMA Awards in Las Vegas, the 33-year-old was asked for his opinion on the UFC heavyweight title fight that went down at UFC 155 on Dec. 29, 2012, which saw Cain Velasquez regain the belt with a five-round beat down of Junior dos Santos.
And in typical Mir fashion, the 33-year-old gave his uncensored opinion on every topic asked of him, starting with his overall outlook of the fight and how the result differed from how he pictured the match up playing out.
"I actually had it 50/50 going in, I still felt that Velasquez, I've always said one of the most well rounded heavyweights. I think that he was potentially the most dangerous guy, but obviously Junior's takedown defense and his hands always make it something to always pay attention to. Even as dominating as Velasquez was, some of the body punches Junior started throwing and moving around, he's some body that's never really out of the fight, so that's why I put it as a 50/50. Do I think that Velasquez is the better martial artist? Absolutely. He's more well rounded. He can do takedown, he can avoid takedowns, he can box, obviously he landed more punches and threw more punches in the match when it did box. And on the ground he at least went for a submission attempt. Everybody says Junior has submissions on the ground, I think after now we can go close the book on that, after 25-minutes he went for zero attempts, so."
Mir didn't stop there when talking about dos Santos' ground game. The native of Las Vegas was extremely critical of the Brazilian's ability to adapt his strategy mid-fight after being taken down on several occasions as well as his lack of activity when it came to attempting submissions from his back.
"Even losing he didn't jump for nothing, so. I think that after the second or third round of being taken down, I expected him to do something else besides stand up again. I think that, you know, knowing, you know, on the feet he's obviously looking for the knockout, then why on the ground aren't you looking for the knockout submission? If you're taken down why aren't you still moving your hips to go and move for things? But obviously just things he probably doesn't do very well because I think he's a victim of his own success. He's so successful at boxing and avoiding the ground, he probably honestly I mean how much training does the guy do on the ground? It was pretty evident in the fight not a lot. "
Overall, the fight impressed Mir, specifically the heart dos Santos showed for riding it out to the bitter end and never giving up even when it was clearly not his night.
Mir believes the durability of "Cigano" is second to none, but when it comes to the longevity of the fight, Mir thinks more than anything the finger should be pointed at Velasquez's lack of finish ability, not the fact dos Santos was able to absorb a hellacious beating.
"That's the only knock I probably have on Velasquez. I think his well roundedness is phenomenal, I think he's a good boxer, great takedown artist, not always the best finisher. I've seen Cheick Kongo and a few other fighters take two, three hundred shots from him and the fight goes the distance. So, there are times where he grinds people to death, but if you're a guy that is willing to survive, he doesn't put people away all the time. But like I said, he's the champ and he's the best right now in the world, but if I had to sit there and criticize one aspect of his career, there's not a whole lot of submissions I can think of off the top of my head and just a few knockouts."
Mir was defeated by dos Santos at UFC 146 last May, and said in the interview that a rematch down the line would be a match up that interests him.
It is unknown at this time when Mir will step into the Octagon next; however, he was scheduled to fight Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier in November before withdrawing due to injury, and both fighters have expressed interest in re-booking the bout.