Despite an impressive knockout finish in the final minute of his fight with PRIDE legend Mirko Cro Cop, former heavyweight champion Frank Mir’s sub-par performance during the previous 14 minutes undid much of his good work.
The last time Mir bounced back from a tough loss was against Cheick Kongo after being defeated by Brock Lesnar, and on that occasion he impressed by hurting the Frenchman on his feet before seizing a submission in the opening round.
That performance helped fast-track him to a No.1 contender’s bout with Shane Carwin, but there’s no danger of something similar happening here after this display.
So where does he go from here?
First things first he needs to get back in the gym and work harder on his wrestling. His takedowns have always been a weak point, and his inability to come even remotely close to getting the much lighter Cro Cop onto the mat indicated it’s still a major flaw in his game.
If he can’t fill that hole in then he’s going to continue to be easy prey for his major rivals at 265lbs like Carwin, Lesnar and Velasquez who all have high level wrestling pedigrees.
So who should he fight next?
Last night’s performance doesn’t qualify him for a rematch with either Lesnar or Carwin in my opinion.
I’d say the originally planned main event for UFC 119 against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira still makes the most sense at this stage.
There’s suggestions that Nogueira’s injury may keep him out for as much as six months however, and Mir may be keen to get back in and make amends for last night’s performance sooner than that.
With that in mind Roy Nelson is also a possibility. He’s also recovering from knee surgery, but is further down the road to recovery than Big Nog, and could be a suitable match-up for Mir in a few months time.