Pros Picks: Nogueira vs. Mir

By Mike Sloan Dec 24, 2008
On one side you have former Pride heavyweight champion and current UFC interim heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. He’s one of the greatest fighters in the history of MMA, bar none. On the other side you have Frank Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champion trying to regain his lost title.

Both men were coaches on the past season’s edition of “The Ultimate Fighter” and both are wizards in jiu-jitsu. Nogueira is a heavy betting favorite, but Mir is the better-known fighter in the United States.

In preparation for Saturday’s showdown at UFC 92, went to the pros, collecting the opinions of dozens of fighters and trainers:

Pete Sell: Nog is going to beat Mir. Nog is more battletested with wars against tougher opponents.

Cung Le: Mir by decision.

John Hackleman: Mir and Nog ... all I can say is "ouch."

Marvin Eastman: Nogueira (in the) third.

CB Dollaway: I’m going to go with Nogueira, probably by submission.

Krzysztof Soszynski: If you’re a betting man, because of the coaches’ challenge curse -- every coach that has won his challenge (on “The Ultimate Fighter”) has lost his fight -- I’d put some money down on Mir. It is the curse and it has happened, I think, five times now. Shamrock won his challenge but lost his fight, same with Couture. It’s interesting. I talked to Mir and I know he’s been training really hard. So with him being my coach (on the show), I’m going to be pulling for him. But Nogueira is an animal. He’s been around for years; he’s so tough. You think you have him down and finished, but he gets right back up, keeps going. I think it’s going to be a great fight. I’m going to be pulling for Frank Mir, but I think Nogueira definitely has an advantage in this fight.

Marcus Davis: I love Frank Mir. I think he’s a great guy, but I don’t know where he’s going to be able to win this fight. I think Nogueira is a better striker and he’s better on the ground. He’s one of the best MMA jiu-jitsu guys there is, so I’m picking Nogueira in that fight.

Zac George: Nog via second-round ref stoppage.

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According to the pros,
Frank Mir is a huge underdog.
Micah Miller: Nog. Much better boxer.

Travis Lutter: I think Nog will win.

Luigi Fioravanti: Nog by TKO in the third round.

Shawn Tompkins: Nog will have his way with Mir. Too tough and has had a great camp. He works with great trainers and partners.

Scott Lighty: Nog. He is tough, trains hard and will never give up.

Mike Dolce: I'm going to go with Frank Mir on this one. I've seen Frank at Striking Unlimited recently, and he looks to be in the best shape of his career. I think his recent submission victory over current UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar gave him the confidence and motivation to bypass Nog as next in line for a title shot.

Kevin Burns: I'm going to take Nog by decision. Will be tough for Mir to catch him.

Matt Lindland: I'm rooting for Mir and it's a close call, so I'll go with Mir.

Guy Mezger: Have to go with Nog.

Ricardo Liborio: I go with Nog (via) submission in the third round.

Cub Swanson: I have to go with Mir over Nog.

Falaniko Vitale: Nog would be tough to beat. Been in bigger fights than Mir. Mir's conditioning is a factor. Nog by submission.

Chris Lytle: Even (if) Mir claims to be stronger, more athletic, can jump higher, had a better GPA or whatever, I don't think he can fight better. I’ll go with Nog.

Mac Danzig: I think Minotauro will win. Probably in the later rounds. Mir is very dangerous in the first few minutes. If Nogueira can survive that, he should break Mir down.

Frank Shamrock: Nog by KO.

Yves Edwards: I have to go with Nog in this one. Mir is solely a jiu-jitsu fighter. He may be good at it, but so is Nog. ... Actually (Nogueira is) better at it. Plus he's got three other positive attributes that we've never seen Mir show: 1) an iron jaw; 2) quality boxing skills; 3) the heart to never quit. I just don't see anyway for Mir to win this fight.

Nate Quarry: Nog all the way. He's the fighter's fighter. All heart.

Jason Lambert: Nog sub.

Eddy Millis: I like Frank so I hope this don't happen, but I think Nogueira KOs him standing.

Duke Roufus: Nog. He’s fought tougher guys and is a warrior.

Matt Arroyo: Nog … anyway he wants, but it will probably be in the last few rounds.

Gabe Ruediger: Nog should win. He has better jiu-jitsu, striking and work ethic. He has also fought the better competition.

James Zikic: Nogueira is too mentally tough and has the better jiu-jitsu and hands. Can't see a way for Mir to win, but anything can happen in the Octagon!

Pete Spratt: Easy, Nogueira! Mir hasn't really looked good since Sylvia. I hope he has trained hard and will make it at least competitive, but I don’t see it happening.

James Thompson: Nog all the way, unless Mir catches something early, which I can't really see. I think Nog’s got his number. Nog (via) TKO round three.

Stephane Vigneault: I think Nogueira is gonna win this because of his experience and because overall he is a more complete fighter than Frank Mir. His striking is far better, his wrestling too and his BJJ too ... and Nogueira has a granite chin. Frank Mir is dangerous only in the first round and never is gonna beat Nogueira in the first round. Nogueira by TKO round three, and I hope Nogueira fixes the big problem in the heavyweight division afterward by beating Lesnar, who is the worst heavyweight champion the UFC can have.

Rick Roufus: Nog will get beat up, but Nog by submission.

Johny Hendricks: I have to go with Nog because his jiu-jitsu is better and his standup is better. I think it's not going to be a boring fight, just a lot of standing. So I would say third round (in favor of) Nog because Mir hasn't been in those rounds with a tough guy in a while.

Final tallies:
Pros who picked Nog: 30
Pros who picked Mir: 4
Pros who couldn’t decide: 1
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