The Evolution of Frank Mir

He may very well go down as one of the best submission artists in UFC history with numerous highlight reel finishes.  I am talking about former heavyweight champion Frank Mir.  Over the past few years we have had the pleasure of seeing Frank Mir at the top of the mountain and down to the point of obscurity.  Many wrote him off after his fatal motorcycle accident.  However, like a true warrior, Mir overcame the odds and losses exploding back onto the MMA scene.

At UFC 81, a resurging Mir shocked the world when he submitted Brock Lesnar.  This led to his coaching role on the 8th season of The Ultimate Fighter.  Mir was pitted against fellow heavyweight and Interim Title Holder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.  Mir showed his first stage of evolution in their match up at UFC 92 when he defeated Nogueira by TKO. This was the first time Nogueira was ever defeated in that fashion.

Taking the title from Nogueira led Mir into a clash of champions when he would have a rematch against Brock Lesnar at UFC 100.  Mir entered the match as the interim champion and Lesnar, the heavyweight champion. Brock Lesnar became the champion after his victory against title holder Randy Couture, who previously retired as champion, but shortly came out of retirement to face Lesnar.  This match up would prove pivotal to the heavyweight landscape and the career of Frank Mir, as he fought valiantly, but ultimately came up short against Lesnar.

Like a true champion, Frank Mir accepted his defeat and went to the drawing board.  He realized that there was value behind strength and conditioning, so he transformed himself.  His goal was to work towards filling the holes that hindered his MMA game, size, and strength.  This led to the new and improved Frank Mir who has given us the blow out performance against Cheick Kongo, the knockout victory of feared striker Mirko Cro Cop, and the destruction of Roy Nelson.

As Frank Mir piled up the victories, questions were asked about Mir’s past triumph against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira such as: was the TKO victory a fluke?  Did Frank Mir beat a man that was not at his best prior to the match up?  Well, we were in for a treat at UFC 140, which may go down as Frank Mir’s greatest submission ever.  Obviously, his best submission since his performance at UFC 48 was when Mir locked Tim Sylvia in an arm bar that inevitably broke his arm and gave Mir his first UFC heavyweight title.  For those of you that did not have the pleasure of UFC 140, Frank Mir was facing Nogueira for the second time.  Mir overcame an early barrage of punches from Nogueira that rocked him and left him on the canvas.

Many experts have always stated that you never want to go to the ground against Nogueira, given that his reputation during his Pride days made him the most feared ground technician in MMA.  Well, I guess experts left out the part about Frank Mir and his ground game.  During the bout, Mir scrambled on the ground that led him into placing Nogueira in a kimura arm lock.  However, that wasn’t the part that left the MMA world on their feet; it was the finish.  Frank Mir locked in the hold and broke Nogueira’s arm.  At that moment, Mir became the first man to finish Nogueira via TKO and submission.

What’s next for Frank Mir?

One can only hope that this is not the end of his evolution. Hopefully Mir will have another run at the title since he has won 4 of his last 5 fights.  Maybe we can get the rubber match fans have been begging for between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar.  As we close 2011, one thing is certain: 2012 will lead to some exciting fights and the MMA world will be on one roller-coaster ride they will never forget.

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