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NEW YORK – Frank Mir has been fighting at a high level for more than 18 years. Now in his forties, the former UFC heavyweight champion still competes for one of the world’s premiere MMA promotions.
That said, he isn’t willing to call his longevity an impressive feat for the heavyweight division.
Ahead of his bout against Roy Nelson (23-17 MMA, 1-3 BMMA) at Bellator 231, Mir (18-13 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) spoke about his current standing in MMA at a pre-fight media day Wednesday.
Bellator president Scott Coker has openly stated the fight between Mir and Nelson would likely mark the end of the loser’s tenure. Despite rumblings of being one loss away from a pink slip, Mir shrugged off any talk that he’d be completely out of a job and indicated there are other options.
“I’m lucky that I’ve established myself so much in the sport that if Bellator wanted to cut me tomorrow, I’d sign with a new league on Monday,” Mir told MMA Junkie. “It’s not that hard. Especially with bare knuckle fighting coming up. You see a lot of guys. The heavyweights – there aren’t a lot of us who are willing to fight that are good enough to fight that people are willing to watch.
“As long as you don’t go out there and throw fights and you show that you don’t want to be there or make it painful to watch, winning or losing doesn’t really matter in this sport. It really doesn’t. Hell, Randy Couture was 18-13. If I told you he was coming back right now, everybody would try to sign him.”
According to Mir, the heavyweight division doesn’t require the same type of special, determined athletes as say, featherweight or lightweight. There are fewer fighters, thus less competition. Also, today’s heavyweights don’t want to fight in an exciting manner – or do so at all, said Mir.
To further prove his point, Mir told a story about a recent MMA event he attended with his wife, before some self-deprecation.
“We were at some fights and we were watching two high-level guys,” Mir said. “She looked over at me. One of the guys was in the top ten rankings, right? She looked at me like, ‘Holy (expletive), you’ll be able to fight the rest of your life. This is horrible.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is heavyweights.’
“Heavyweights suck, the majority of us. We’re just not very good fighters. They’re like watching polar bears fighting over some food. Balance isn’t great. No one knows how to do submissions barely. Once you get out of the top ten, you’re really scratching the bottom of the barrel.”
From the moment Friday’s Bellator 231 headlining clash with Nelson was announced, Mir made it clear he wasn’t a fan of the booking. The former UFC champ believes he’s reinvented himself over the past few months, but won’t be able to put it on display against a style matchup like Nelson.
“I wasn’t exactly ecstatic about it just because I’ve been working on my jiu-jitsu skills,” Mir said. “Revamping them. Bringing them back because my timing was so off because I’ve worked on standup so much over the years. I had to put the practice and the time in to keep my jiu-jitsu skills sharp.
“Fighting Roy is going to be difficult because he’s fought this many times now. He’s fought the four best jiu-jitsu artists in the heavyweight division: myself, (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira, (Fabricio) Werdum, and (Josh) Barnett. Nobody submitted this guy. I think I’m going to go back to the way I’ve been fighting.”
For more from Mir, watch the video above.
News | MMA Junkie