Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 164 blew the roof off the BMO Harris Bradley Center last Saturday night (Aug. 31, 2013) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Many combatants were left licking their wounds after a wild night of fights, including Ben Henderson, who lost his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight championship to Anthony Pettis after a limb-popping armbar forced "Smooth" to tap (video here). And Clay Guida, who was knocked out for the first time in his career by Chad Mendes (highlights here).
But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover now two days removed from the show?
The two-time UFC heavyweight champion was knocked out by Josh Barnett in the first round after the two veterans came out swinging for the fences, looking to make a statement and end all doubts as two who truly among them is the better big man in the game.
Barnett, instead of talking about it, proved it by delivering a powerful knee to Mir's dome (watch it again here) sending him crashing to the canvas and forcing a referee stoppage -- which Frank didn't agree with -- following a few follow-up punches from "The Warmaster."
The loss marked Mir's third straight for the first time in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career and put his tenure with UFC in doubt, leaving Joe Silva and Co. with a hard decision. Do you keep the most successful big man in UFC history on the roster and keep paying him the big bucks? Or do you offer him a nice cushy position at ZUFFA headquarters or at the broadcast booth in hopes that he hangs 'em up?
What went wrong for Mir in "Brew City?"
It's hard to pinpoint the problem, really. He didn't get dominated, he didn't necessarily "get caught," he just simply met a more determined fighter who looked to prove that all the talking he did prior to returning to the Octagon, wasn't just a bunch of hot air.
Maybe all the wear and tear Mir has endured during his 12-year MMA career is finally catching up to him. Perhaps the grizzled veteran just can't take a punch like he used to. Much like Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes before him, maybe his time as an elite fighter inside the cage -- as hard as it may be to accept for Mir and fans alike -- has come to an end.
Then again, losing to top guys such as Barnett, Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos is nothing to hang your head low over and I'd challenge any big man to run that gauntlet without picking up a loss (or three).
He's consistently fought the best of the bunch.
Having said that, I think Mir will likely get another shot inside the eight-walled cage. And a rematch against Brandon Vera -- who made an unsuccessful return to heavyweight at UFC 164 against Ben Rothwell -- would make perfect sense.
For one, Mir would have a chance to avenge a loss to the man who knocked him silly seven years ago. Plus, a fight against "The Truth," a man who isn't exactly the same fighter that once threatened to become the light heavyweight and heavyweight champion at the same time, would show Mir and the UFC higher-ups exactly where he stands in today's era of big men.
But, does Mir deserve one last dance inside the Octagon?