Based in the UK, I traditionally wait until the morning and gauge feedback from the previous nights fights before coming to a conclusion on the event/fight as a whole.
Unapologetically, I am a huge Mir fan.
I’m not sure the basis for this man crush however I’m sure the old school aspect plays an important part in my fandom.
One thing that can be said for Frank is that he has always fought among the upper echelon of fighting talent for last 13+ years. Never turned a fight down regardless of style match up and for this he should be commended.
Last night was always going to be a bad match up. As we are all aware wrestlers have never been a strong point of Frank Mir, however (although screaming at the TV for him to get off the cage) I was mildly happy with that I saw last night.
Make no mistake about it; Frank was setup as the sacrificial lamb last night.
Most of the predictions ended with Frank having a flash light shined into his eyes due to his over hyped glass jaw. Frank Mir has never had a glass jaw. Nelson has cracked him, so has Cormier, so did JDS, so did Brock 1. Only Shane Carwin has really left him lifeless after being pounded from 20+ unanswered shots. His problem is that he simply doesn’t have the heart or fight to deal with heavy pressure and/or damage – a front runner if you will. Mental toughness has never been his strong point by his own admission.
However last night, I did celebrate in a corner of my mind that Frank was still standing (although walking through tar) and had weathered the storm something that Bigfoot and others couldn't do.
The Greg Jackson change has obviously helped Mir as his conditioning was slightly improved (doesn't help with an Olympic wrestler leaning on you for 15 minutes) and also showed a few flashes of technique change and offensive kicking.
I am sure we will see a better Frank Mir in his next fight which will hopefully be more of a stylistically favorable/winnable fight.
However, I think it is very important to remember one thing about Frank. He is an old school fighter. NOT an athlete. He will never compete with the Cains, GSP’s, Jones’s of this world.
It is absolute testament that he is still around this long. Especially due to the motor cycle accident. However like BJ Penn, Chuck, Matt Hughes, Fedor – (same era has Mir) the game passes you by, and new breed of fighters will naturally overtake you. He is simply not cut from the same cloth.
Make no mistake, Frank knows this.. And despite the potential damage to his reputation and fight record, he takes the fights anyway in the most dangerous division for getting finished against the most dangerous men in the world. That is a warrior spirit that has somewhat been lost in the new money making business world that is a UFC fight career.
Another aspect to appreciate is the hunger factor. After coming back from the accident and 3 awful/embarrassing loses to becoming a champion again, holding numerous UFC records, headlining the biggest pay per view in the history of the UFC, being a millionaire having a growing family – I just don’t see how mentally he can ever be at the required level for sitting near the top of the food chain.
However, he is STILL fighting the very best fighters in the world and holding his own. I think its an amazing accomplishment.
I genuinely believe Frank would brutalise the Stefan Struve’s of this world.
I also believe he would fare well against Bigfoot. Another slower more plodding Heavyweight who has been cracked on the chin numerous times by a lot lesser fighters than Mir.
Point is Frank isn’t done yet. It’s just he needs some legacy, record building fights to go out on a high.
Am I sad about last night?, yes a little.. However if after he lost to Brandon Vera, I would having posted that SEVEN years later he would be fighting for the title and co headlining on FOX TV against potentially one of the best new heavyweight challengers in the world…. I would have probably been asked to check my medication.
However, here we are, another high profile fight and a new journey with Jacksons. Will it change anything massively moving forward? Probably not, but I draw great admiration from the fact that despite making his debut in 2001 as a cocky brash and extremely talented but flawed fighter… nothing has really changed.