After another memorably win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140, Frank Mir sat down with Jordan Breen to talk about his performance.
The former champion reveals that he actually had doubts about taking this rematch in the first place given how dominant his TKO victory over the Brazilian was in 2009.
“Really, honestly, I was kinda really torn on taking this fight – I was like ‘sh!t’, what am I really gonna do to make myself look better in this fight.”
He says that lead him to him coming out “a little flat” in the early stages of the fight, but it worked out well in the end for him and he feels that the submission victory was actually an improvement over his first fight with Big Nog, and more personally satisfying.
“I think it showcased a few things that people always draw into question: my ability to keep on wanting to push in a fight when it’s going bad – the fight was going bad for a second there – and I came throught it and came out on top, and then to finish Nogueira…you know, there’s guys out there that have submission wins over strikers or wrestlers that finally get them down, but I just submitted the guy that’s known for submitting guys, so it’s a whole different level.”
Interestingly, Mir claims that the big shot he took early in the fight actually proved to be a good thing for him. Prior to that he said he “didn’t feel activated” and was finding it difficult to work his way into the bout, whereas Nogueira looked sharp and started strongly.
Mir says the punch put him “in auto-pilot” and he began to fight instinctively rather than trying to over-analyze what was happening.
And given what happened next Mir might want to find an easier way to switch on that auto-pilot mode in the future as he went on to display a BJJ clinic against one of the most revered fighters in that discipline ever to compete in MMA.
Of course it ended with a particularly gruesome kimura submission that left Big Nog with a badly broken arm. Mir says it was “a combination of strength and technique” that lead to that moment, describing it “putting on the horsepower” once he had it locked up.
Mir is more than satisfied with the reputation he’s continuing to build as a devastating submission finisher, and says that’s something that fighters will be fearful of.
“If someone gets knocked out, trust me – the guys that got knocked out tonight are at the afterparty right now. People who are going to the hospital to get rods put in their arm and get things casted up…not so much. About 6-8 weeks of just agony, and I’ve broken bones before, and trust me, if you had to ask me what I’d rather have – knock me out.”
On reflection Mir feels that this was a fight that does a lot more from him from a title perspective, noting that his last couple of bouts didn’t have the same dramatic impact and so essentially flew under the radar.
Nevertheless, Brock Lesnar Vs Alistair Overeem later this month is still believed to be for the No.1 contender spot, but Mir hasn’t given up hope that he could still be in with a chance of fighting for the belt again sooner rather than later.
“Obviously those two guys have a lot going for them going into that fight, but if their fight’s lackluster I think I can easily catapult over the top of them.”
Mir then reflects on the biggest thing he takes from this fight, and it’s not the fact that he managed to submit Big Nog, or the devastating way in which he did so, but rather the way he battled back from adversity.
He says that he’s now managed to completely switch off a voice in the back of his head that used to try to encourage him to shy away from pain is no longer there, and didn’t crop up even when he was badly hurt in the fight.
“I’ve kinda realized that time marches forward and you can’t stop it, I can’t stop pain or anything else, I can kinda just move forward and try to attack. These things are like strong confidence builders for me, realizing that, until the referee jumps on you the fights never over with, so I can be losing for 14 and a half minutes and the fight’s not over with, it’s not done just yet, I can maybe pull something off and win.
“That was never the case before. I think early on in my career being a talented athlete was actually a pitfall, because it made me never have to overcome adversity. Now i’ve had too, and so the first couple of times I didn’t answer the call at all…I really backed down. This time I can honestly say, when I got rocked there was never a moment where I felt I should pack it up, I just kept moving and kept reacting. My mind was very clear and very serene. It was very zen-like.
Watch the full interview below courtesy of sherdog.com.