The Frank Mir Story
A black belt in Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, lightening quick footwork for a 265 lb, undoubtedly the most talented submission artist in the heavyweight division. Nevada born Frank Mir has many strings to his bow, a feat that makes him one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in Mixed Martial Arts today.
Frank Mir started training in NCCA wrestling and Judo, when by chance a UFC match organizer happened to see him, wrestling in a NCAA bout, and advised him to take up Mixed Martial Arts.
Twelve years and two heavyweight titles later, Mir (16-6) is the UFC’s most established fighter in the Heavyweight Division with submission victories over huge names such as national wrestling champion Brock Lesner, world-renowned striker Cheik Kongo and Antonio Nogeura, the most decorated modern-day practitioner of Jiu Jitsu. Mir is the only fighter in the UFC to have secured victory through a toe-hold, as well as going on two, four-fight win streaks.
In 2004, after winning the heavyweight title for the first time by defeating Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 through an arm bar, Mir suffered a terrible motorcycle accident, breaking his femur in two places and tearing all the ligaments in his knee. This severely put Mir’s promising career and title retention in doubt. After 14 months out and more than ten operations to repair his damaged knee, the UFC stripped the title from Mir due to his prolonged absence from the sport.
A return for Frank Mir beckoned. In 2006 he made his comeback at UFC 57, facing off against Marcio Cruz. Cruz at the time was an untested newcomer to the MMA world, so pundits dubbed the fight as an easy return for the former champ. However after 4:10 of the first round, pundits and commentators were eating their words as Cruz was pulled off of an unconscious Frank Mir (Cruz won by TKO).
The whole year didn’t go as planned as far as Mir was concerned, nor did the following two fights. Although Mir picked up a unanimous decision victory over Dan Christison as well as being praised for “slightly improved speed” the fight was widely considered lackluster and slow. As was his next bout against Brandon Vera, losing to strikes after just 1:09 of the first round.
Mir took a backseat in the UFC for 10 months following his slew of poor performances, changing fight camps and focusing more on his stand-up game which had come under fire from pundits. After the regime change, Mir made his second comeback, defeating Antoni Hardonk via Kimura (armlock), a victory that echoed around the MMA world and sent a statement that one of the best submission artists was back and meaner than ever.
“Now you see Frank Mir!” – Francisco Santos Mir III, minutes after defeating Hardonk.
Eight years on and Frank Mir has risen from narrowly being cut from the UFC to the most experienced fighter in the Heavyweight division with 16 fights in total, winning numerous Submission of the Night awards as well as Submission of the Year in 2008 and 2011.
Mir now finds himself in an uncertain situation, facing off against former olympian and Strikeforce fighter Daniel Cormier. Cormier is undefeated and a win against Mir would do great things for his career. The same for Mir as he is looking for a high-profile scalp, and what better way to start a resurgence than defeating and undefeated up and comer.
The word “fighter” conveys an image of a rough, aggressive unintelligent oaf. A stereotype many fighters are disproving.
These men train for eight hours a day, for two months. Putting family and friends on hold during the build up to a fight against another warrior who’s trained just as much. Two people with one goal — to get their hand raised at the end of the fight. You can kick balls into nets more times than another team, you can slam balls through hoops, run faster than others, but there is no victory more complete or more absolute than winning with your bare hands in single combat.
That is what is making the UFC and MMA an exciting sport, and Frank Mir is a huge part of it.
“People tend to have a greater respect for something once they’ve lost it, particularly when they’re not sure they’ll ever get it back.” - Frank Mir after recovering from his motorcycle incident.