We are now just a little less than two weeks outside of the UFC on FOX 7 card which takes place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California on April 20th. The card is loaded with amazing match-ups, notably the new kids on the block (Strikeforce transfers) taking on the UFC vets. One of the most highly anticipated is the debut of former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier as he gets ready to take on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.
What makes this fight so intriguing is the fact that these two were scheduled to fight way back in November of 2012 on one of the final Strikeforce cards. However, a late injury to Frank Mir forced that fight, along with the card, to be cancelled. Now, after Cormier made quick work of Dion Staring in his final Strikeforce bout, we will finally get to see the two former champs battle it out…this time inside the UFC octagon. Cormier, after his win over Staring, called out Mir in front of the entire MMA world. His poise and demeanor make him seem supremely confident and unshaken by the credentials that Mir carries. Mir, on the other hand, knows that Cormier is talented and still undefeated but accepts the fight with open arms and he understands why Cormier is so eager to get the fight with him.
“He’s new to the game, even though he’s older than I am,” Mir explained to MMAFighting.com. “He doesn’t really know how to market himself that well yet. I think he’s still working on it. I think the smart thing is, he’s doing things that will make people bring up his name in that aspect. The fact that he brought up Jon Jones makes him more relevant. It sure isn’t on his accolades of what he’s done inside the Octagon.”
Mir, a longtime UFC vet, former champion, and arguably the greatest heavyweight submission fighter of all time, is not moved by Cormier’s confidence. He knows that Cormier is still unbeaten and is looking at him more as a stepping stone than a threat but feels that Cormier has never fought anyone near the caliber fighter that he is. Mir has fought the best of the best and is still standing strong as a top 10 heavyweight in the world. A win for Cormier would prove his legitimacy at the top of the heavyweight division, but what about a loss?
“I think he’s smart, or at least has smart people around him,” Mir coolly said of Cormier’s request to fight him. “[He has] nothing to lose. He goes out and fights somebody else that’s lower ranked, and he comes out and loses, he loses a lot of stock. He goes out against me, changes levels, takes a shot. I guillotine him and choke him out in, let’s say, 40 seconds. Does it really take anything away from his stock? No. He can still stand up and go, ‘Well guys, I got submitted by Mir, [joined] the laundry list of people that have been submitted by him. I’m going to go to light heavyweight.’ And he still has all the same momentum he had when he first started. All his fans will be able to just remark on the fact that, ‘Well, you know, Mir caught him. He stepped in right off the bat. That’s Mir, you know? Mir catches a lot of people.’ So he can actually lose and not lose anything. Whereas, let’s say he fights Todd Duffee, who’s very capable of knocking his teeth down his throat, but Todd Duffee doesn’t have the same notoriety that I do. He’s 2-1 in the UFC, so it’s more of a dangerous fight.”
Frank Mir has never been one to back down from a big fight and, like I said before, has fought almost everyone who is anyone in the heavyweight division. Mir understands what it takes to be at the pinnacle of the sport and knows that Cormier has to defeat a well known name before he can be considered a UFC title contender. He just doesn’t think Cormier has the experience or skill-set to get past him.
“It’s name recognition. It’s like Stephan Bonnar stepping in against Anderson Silva,” he explained. “Who doesn’t take the fight? The lowest ranked guy will take the fight instantly. The only person who has anything to lose is Anderson, because if he loses to somebody, he loses stock.”
Mir continued, “I think he has kind of a false sense of security [after] fighting against Josh [Barnett]. You know, he feels like, ‘Well, Josh caught me and couldn’t finish me.’ Barnett’s a great grappler, but he’s not known for smashing people’s limbs off. If I catch something, and its close, I put people in the hospital. How many bones has Barnett broken? How many people has he put in the hospital?”
Point well taken. Mir has indeed etched his share of amazing submission finishes and if Cormier leaves the slightest opening for a submission finish he better hope Mir doesn’t break anything.
Mir is coming off of a very lopsided title fight loss to former UFC Champion Junior dos Santos and since then has realized that he needs to change something in his camp if he wants to stay at the top of the UFC heavyweight division. For this reason Mir has taken his training camp to New Mexico to work with Team Jackson, one of the most well known and respected camps in the world. Mir is taking this fight very seriously and is looking to put a stop to all the hype that Cormier has building behind him. The Jackson Camp was just the place he felt he needed to be to get himself back to championship form for this fight.
“Its high level competition here at all times,” he explained. “That’s what I told my wife. If I’m feeling good, then I’m proud to have a good day. Techniques work. Because I can see that when I’m having an off moment or I make a mistake, it isn’t like other gyms where I can kind of go through the motions, still succeed and be victorious. Here, if I’m not 100 percent, I go home with a lot of bumps and bruises.”
The Jackson Camp is well known for devising nearly flawless game-plans for fights and Mir knows that whatever advice he gets from Coach Greg Jackson and Coach Mike Winklejohn is worth taking into consideration. Mir has stated that his coaches want to make sure he doesn’t get outpointed by takedowns and most importantly they want to make ground-and-pound a bad choice for Cormier to choose.
“Take him out of his element,” Mir said in closing. “If he’s able to control the pace with his wrestling, and smother, control, it’ll be a drawn out fight. If it’s a fight with lots of exchanges and lots of chaos, I think that isn’t where he’ll do well. Anybody at heavyweight can hope for a knockout. But I hunt them down and see them. And as far as submissions go, if he makes a mistake, then I’ll take one of his limbs home.”
Cormier: Beware. Mir is the UFC’s bone collector. One mistake can earn you a VIP pass to the emergency room. Mir knows it, Cormier knows it, the fans know it…now let’s see what reality thinks of it…
UFC on FOX 7 is set to take place on April 20th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and will be headlined by champion vs. champion bout between UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez. This is a super-loaded fight card that any fight fan would be foolish to miss. For more details and hype leading up to the fight be sure to keep checking back here at BJPenn.com.
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