Frank Mir file photo: Sherdog.com
Six months removed from a devastating knockout to Shane Carwin at UFC 111, the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., was Frank Mir’s stage to show everyone that he could still compete at the top of the division.
For 14 painfully boring minutes, the former UFC heavyweight champion stood with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, with a good portion of the fight being contested from the clinch. There were few scrambles, no explosions, and the only thing salvageable for Mir from his performance was the knockout result. Mir’s take on the fight was a humble one:
“A shi--y win is better than a shi--y loss. Other than that, I’m pissed off about my performance. I’m not happy at all,” said Mir.
Having recently fought two of the sport’s top wrestlers in Carwin and current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, Mir explained that he has been training to move back as his opponent moves forward, creating space where he can throw combinations.
“The mistake I made was fighting him at kickboxing range. I should have closed distance more," Mir said. "I made the mistake of stepping back when Mirko closed the distance. In this situation, that bubble helped him.”
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was unable to take the fight to the floor, where he possessed a clear advantage over the Croatian kickboxer. Though Mir closed the distance often, he failed to damage Filipovic from the clinch, an aspect of the fight Mir attributed to a mental lapse.
“Against the cage, halfway through the round I’m bitching at myself about mistakes I’m making,” said Mir.
Although he shouldered some of the blame for the pace of the fight, Mir also credited Cro Cop for surprising him with his hands and some atypical footwork and technique.
“I’m going to be honest with you. While [Cro Cop] is swinging, it’s not as easy to throw those strikes. That style, he never used before, how he exited to my left.”
Drawing positives from the outing, Mir praised his conditioning.
“I didn’t huff or puff once. My conditioning wasn’t a factor at all. I felt in great shape the whole time," he said. "Now it’s about breaking old habits and not fighting like a guy who’s going to gas. I was able to stand for two and a half rounds with Mirko and get a knockout.”