by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Frank Mir knows
as much as anyone in the MMA business that an intelligent mind can be a
double-edged sword. You can talk yourself into peak performance just as quickly
as you can talk yourself out of it.
is what Mir loves to do. If you speak to the former UFC heavyweight champ for
more than two minutes, you can tell he loves to dissect things. You can hear it
when he’s commentating for World Extreme Cagefighting, or breaking down
fighters on his new gig as a post-fight anchor on ESPN – a fluid,
multi-leveled analysis of what’s going on in and outside of the cage. You hear
it when he talks about righting himself after the oft-discussed motorcycle
accident that nearly ended his career, and his struggles to get in a winning
frame of mind.
UFC 92, Mir faces his toughest challenge yet: a fight against his idol, Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira. Before Mir was ever a famous fighter, he was watching the
Brazilian’s fights. It was Nogueira’s jiu-jitsu
instructional tapes that kept him on track as he learned the ground game.
he’s watched Nogueira transition successfully from the rings of Japan to
America’s cage, winning a UFC interim heavyweight title in the process. It’s
the guy Mir will do everything in his power to stop this Saturday, and he
expects the same treatment.
a lot to think about for anyone, let alone a guy who’s overcome great odds to
have the utmost respect for the guy. I think he’s a phenomenal example of what
a martial artist should always strive to be,” Mir said. “During the night of
the fight, I have every intention of trying to snap every bone in his body. I
hope to God that I do.”
key to the fight is both easy and hard: getting his mind to work to his
advantage. Mir knows Nogueira will never quit – that’s already been
proven when the former Pride champ ekes out a win in later rounds after a
savage beating. It’s Mir’s mind, and soon after his body, that will fail if he
doesn’t believe in himself completely. In that way, Nogueira has taught him a
feel awesome about the situation, because everything that’s been going on going
into this fight,” he said. “I think the fact that I’m fighting Nogueira, who I
think is one of the most dangerous guys in the world in the heavyweight
division, has helped bring me up to a level I’ve never been before.
think my own laziness and my own evaluation of other fighters I’ve fought in
the past has made me be content in my own training, knowing that I’m talented
enough that if need be, I can pull it out. I realize that talent alone will not
allow me to beat Nogueira. If I don’t show up at 100 percent, there’s no chance
I have whatsoever, and I gotta hope that he has a bad
day at the same time.”
or lose, Mir says
a phenomenal fight will be the victory he needs. He wants to fight at his
best for five straight rounds, silence critics who say he has no gas tank, and
hopefully, take a step closer to being the world’s undisputed best. All the
scenarios he envisions for defeat are different for his idol.
mentality’s not the same. I can’t sit there and say, well, eventually, he’ll
make a mistake and I’ll catch him. The pace that he sets, just stick with that
pace and make sure that every time he goes for a technique I have to beat him
at it and go one step further. There are no opportunities for me to screw up my
talent. I have to get an early lead and keep an early lead and never once make
his past connection to Nogueira, a victory will be bittersweet, but that’s
something to think about afterwards.
the end of the fight, I tell everybody, I’ll cry either way,” Mir said. “If I
beat him, I beat my hero, but at the same time, my hero lost.”