September 26, 2010

by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com Considering Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is one of the most feared strikers in the history of mixed martial arts, it may sound surprising that Frank Mir isn’t very happy with his win over the former Pride Openweight Grand Prix champion. But that’s exactly where he finds himself.

“I thought on my part, no disrespect to Mirko, a pretty (expletive) performance as far as, I could have probably pushed the pace a little bit more,” Mir said later in assessing his performance.

The critique of his fight with Cro Cop didn’t stem for the finish, which would typically be described as “highlight reel” in nature, but from the guts of the bout.

The fight topped 14 minutes before Mir pulled the Croatian’s head down into a solid knee backed by 252 pounds of former UFC heavyweight champion. Those 14 minutes plodded along at the pace of a sparring session, neither fighter fully committing to any sort of aggressive offensive tactics, both hesitating to commit to any striking combinations.

Mir continually pressed Cro Cop into the cage, holding him there until referee Herb Dean was forced to restart them in the center of the Octagon. This would happen several times over the course of the fight.

“I got really frustrated, pushing him against the cage, because I had drilled it so much on what to do from there,” Mir explained. “I was making mistakes that I wasn’t making a month ago that I thought I had corrected.”

Couple that with the fact that it was Mirko “Cro Cop” throwing punches at him, and it is understandable that Mir wouldn’t necessarily just want to stand there and trade blows.

“To be honest with you though, while he’s swinging those punches at you it’s not as easy to want to throw a lot of strikes. He caught my attention pretty early as far as the velocity of how hard he was throwing that left hook,” he admitted.

But for Mir, and evidently UFC president Dana White who declined to issue the typical Knockout of the Night bonus to Mir regardless of it being the only knockout finish at UFC 119, there was little solace in the finish of a fight that took longtime fans back to the days of the “Detroit Dance” between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.

A last minute rules change at UFC 9 barred Shamrock and Severn from throwing closed fisted punches to the head, leading to a fight that lulled most fans into a semi-conscious state.

“At least I can take a breath easier that it didn’t go to a judges’ decision,” said Mir, before declaring, “I’ll make the statement that a (expletive) win is better than a (expletive) loss. That being said, I guess that’s the only highlight. Other than that, no, I’m completely pissed off about my performance. I’m not happy at all.”