Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
The state of Nevada has produced its share of successful mixed martial artists, former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Frank Mir chief among them.
Mir has taken on the majority of elite heavyweights of his generation, outside of Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko. The Las Vegas native battled Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Brock Lesnar (twice), Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier, Mirko Filipovic, Andrei Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Mark Hunt and many others. Mir captured the heavyweight crown at UFC 48 on June 19, 2004, when he snapped Tim Sylvia’s arm below the elbow at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. However, his title reign was cut short by a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his career and kept him out of action for almost two years.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Ricardo Pires, Mir has since fought for the undisputed heavyweight championship on two occasions, falling short against Lesnar and dos Santos. While he has not aged particularly well -- he has lost six of his past eight bouts, three of them by knockout -- Mir’s accomplishments will stand the test of time. A four-time post-fight performance bonus winner, he owns more victories (16) and finishes (13) than any other heavyweight in UFC history. He also ranks first on the UFC’s all-time list in first-round finishes (10) and second in submission wins (eight).
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Mike Pyle, Robert Drysdale, Marvin Eastman, Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson, Gina Carano