Saturday's UFC 100 main event will feature heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, looking to unify the title against the division’s interim title keeper, Frank Mir, to determine once and for all an undisputed champion when it all goes down live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 11.
The highly anticipated showdown is a rematch from UFC 81 in February 2008, when Mir was able to survive an opening onslaught from Lesnar to eventually catch the UFC rookie in a fight-ending kneebar early into the first round.
Of course some say Mir received a little help from referee Steve Mazzagatti, who stopped the fight and deducted one point from Lesnar for illegal blows to the back of the head.
Lesnar went on to secure a title shot against Randy Couture with a dominating win over Heath Herring at UFC 87, while Mir defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim strap. Now the two titans finally meet to settle the score in a bout that sees Lesnar as the odds on favorite (-240 to Mir's +190).
As our featured guest on MMAmania.com’s exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio, host Larry Pepe warned Lesnar — who doesn’t have Internet access and claims not to follow stories in the press that are written about him — that Mir hasn’t been shy with disparaging remarks about his opponent in the buildup to the historic UFC 100.
"I think (Mir) is just backpedaling," Lesnar scoffed. "He’s been backpedaling. He’s had a few lucky wins. I believe his win over me was pure luck. He was getting his ass beat. Then when he fought Nogueira, he fought a guy who didn’t show up to fight him. I mean the poor guy looked to me like he was on his deathbed that night. So the day of reckoning will come on July 11 when I step into the Octagon and solidify that I am the true heavyweight champion of the UFC."
One by one, Lesnar responded to Mir’s criticisms. While Mir has accused Lesnar of grabbing the fence in his fight against Couture to prevent a takedown, Lesnar says that it was overblown and that the only thing preventing the takedown was his superior wrestling ability.
While most people think Lesnar has the clear strength advantage, Mir went on record that he feels he has the better muscle-to-fat ratio and is willing to bet any amount of money that his legs are stronger and that he would blow (Lesnar) out of the water in a squatting contest and out dead-lift him. Still, Lesnar took the high road: "If he wants to be stronger than me, that’s fine. But I tell you what, my arm’s getting raised on July 11, and his isn’t. That’s all that matters to me."
In fact, Lesnar thinks Mir’s comments are evidence that he’s an insecure person. "He has every right to be jealous. Just two fights in, I’m the heavyweight champ, and he mentioned that I get paid more than he does. He has every right to be jealous."
And if the trash-talking doesn’t work out the way Mir intends, Lesnar has some advice for him: He can always try for a career on the professional wrestling circuit, where discrediting your opponent is all part of the game. "Maybe (Mir) could have a career with the WWE after I get done beating his ass. Maybe he’s preparing himself to make a switch here."
Lesnar went on to say that he sees the interim championship — which was actually fought after Lesnar had already beaten Couture for the "real belt" — as "just a fake belt to keep the fans happy" while the UFC worked around the absence of Randy Couture, who at the time was fighting a contract dispute. He thinks the fans want to see one true champion, and they’ll get their chance at UFC 100.
Of course their title unification bout was originally supposed to occur at UFC 98, but Mir sustained a knee injury, which pushed the event back two months. The pushback didn’t affect Lesnar, who welcomes the addition to the UFC 100 card.
Still new to the game, Lesnar utilized the extra time to continue working his standup and ground games, including working with Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros, a seven-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (aka, the Mundials).
He’s also brought in several training partners who work at mimicking Frank Mir’s fighting style. Says Lesnar, "It’s not hard to do, he moves like a robot." The added training time has pushed Lesnar’s confidence to an all-time high, and he looks forward to "revenge."
In the year and a half since they last met, Lesnar says he’s improved all aspects of his fight game, thanks to some battles with tough guys like Heath Herring and Randy Couture — a fight that Lesnar says taught him patience. While he still fights for respect from the MMA community as a whole, he’s confident that he’s "a fighter for sure now," compared to his greener days at UFC 87.
"I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I just keep my nose to the grindstone and keep training hard. I just stay focused on the task in front of me. All these things that you’re bringing up, this is the first time I’ve heard them. That’s why I don’t surf the Internet, I don’t read magazines, I don’t even read my own articles. I’m not a mark or a fan of myself, like these other fighters get (when) they get all goofy in their heads and believe everything they read. I’ve never done that."
Now just three days out from the fight he’s been waiting for since beating Randy Couture to capture the UFC heavyweight title on November 15, Lesnar is counting down the days. "We’re just going to smother (Mir). He’s not going to be able to do a damn thing."
Check out the complete interview, as well as the entire Pro MMA Radio archive by clicking here.