With maybe the exception of BJ Penn, no one made a statement last night quite like Frank Mir. He obliterated Cheick Kongo with a left hand and choked him out in 1:12. It was a message sent loud and clear that he wants Brock Lesnar and he’s willing do whatever it takes to get the rubber match.
“It was more a statement for myself and my training camp to say that I could bounce back from such a decisive loss to Brock… a loss to Cheick would have been a pretty bad statement on my career,” said Mir. “He was an opponent that I really felt that I had to come out there and decisively smash to make a statement. If I had of went out there and won a three-round decision against Cheick Kongo, I don’t believe that would have elevated my status.”
Of course, with a timetable for Brock Lesnar’s return still in question, and Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all in the title hunt, there’s no guarantee he’s going to get it. Even if Brock returns this summer, Mir will still need to get at least one more win under his belt before he’ll be granted another title shot. Who his next opponent will be is unknown, but you have to imagine it would be against one of the three aforementioned heavyweights. Mir, never one at a loss for words, had something to say about each of them last night.
“He’s talked a lot of crap about me,” said Mir, who is the only person to have ever finished the legendary Brazilian in his entire career, in a match where Nogueira clearly wasn’t himself coming off a staph infection and a knee injury. “Look, he could say it once, but he says it so often he might as well be wearing a T-shirt that says ‘I had a staph infection and a major knee injury when I fought Frank Mir.’
“But if I was really bothered by it, I’d get back at him by never giving him a rematch, that way I’d always have it over him.”
“Cain Velasquez, I feel, is the best wrestler in the division,” he said. “And he’s got great cardio. But he’s lacking punching power.”
“Shane Carwin, he’s a better Brock Lesnar than Brock Lesnar. He’s just as powerful, if not more powerful. But his defense is his weakness. He got knocked down by Gabriel Gonzaga.”
Personally, I think we still need to see Mir-Nogueira II, but with Nogueira and Velasquez officially scheduled to headline UFC 110 in late February, that match-up isn’t happening anytime in the near future. Nevertheless, Mir-Carwin would also make for a great fight, perhaps even a preview for Lesnar-Mir III, so it would be pretty hard for the UFC to go wrong here. How it will all shake out though will likely depend on what conclusions Dana comes to regarding Brock in the next six weeks.
In the meantime, Mir isn’t content with the extra 20lbs of muscle he’s put on since July. If he is indeed granted the rubber match, he wants to be the same size as Brock — 280-285 lbs. cutting down to 265 lbs.
“I want to get to where I’m cutting 15-20 pounds just to make 265 pounds,” said Mir, regarding his goal for the Lesnar showdown. “That’s going to take some time. But that way I’ll be the same size he is. I may not be quite as strong as he is, but I’ll be strong enough to neutralize his strength, and then it will come down to who is the better technical fighter. He will never be as technical a fighter as I am because he started too late.”
As SI.com’s Josh Gross has been asking though, at what point does Mir’s weight gain begin to adversely affect his speed, agility and cardio? In other words, can Frank Mir get too big for his own good? The difference between Brock and other athletes/fighters is his rare combination of size, speed, strength and agility. No one is going to dispute who’s the more technical fighter, but the answer can’t be as simple as Mir makes it sound, can it?
Well, no one knows at this point, which is why all of sudden this fight has become a lot more intriguing. I don’t know how it will all work out for Mir in the end, but if he does half as good of a job in the cage with Lesnar and he’s done selling himself for the rubber match, he might actually have a decent shot at exiting the Octagon with his face intact and Brock’s belt around his waist.
More UFC 107 pictures at UFC.com