By: Jason Kindschy
“..I think anytime you go in as the underdog it gives you motivation because you’re more driven to win when people you expect you to,” stated Frank Mir in yesterdays conference call for UFC 146.
The conference call featured competitors from the main event, UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, and former UFC champ Frank Mir, as well as the co-main event, with Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva. UFC 146 will take place May 26th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is set to host an all-heavyweight main card.
When asked about the challenges Antonio Silva presents, former champ Cain Velasquez stated, “Big Foot’s just a big guy. He has a lot of power. He does everything well. He’s good on the ground, he’s good on his feet, punches and kicks and knees. He has good cardio, so he’s a guy that’s really well-rounded everywhere.” When asked what kind of adjustments he has made to tweak his game after losing to current champ Junior Dos Santos, Velasquez said, “I haven’t. You know just always trying to get better. There is always room for improvement in every area, on the stand up, on the ground, just overall. So there really hasn’t been anything different.”
Antonio Silva discussed how using the famed Dolce Diet has increased his speed and how he will be coming into the fight at a lighter weight in an attempt to counter the speed of Velasquez. “Bigfoot” stated through his interpreter yesterday, “Cain Velasquez is a lighter and much faster and is diametrically opposed to my strong points which are my strength and my Jiu Jitsu, so I try to come in a little bit lighter to be able to counter his speed and his lightness. I think this will be favorable to me.” When asked who he was rooting for in this weekend’s Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final, Silva surprisingly said, “I am rooting for Cormier. I know it is a difficult fight. But I believe that he can come out the winner.”
When asked about the adjustments he needed to make to go from fighting originally scheduled opponent Alistair Overeem to Frank Mir, “Cigano” told the media, “They’re very different fighters. Overeem is right-handed and he prefers to keep the fight standing, while Frank Mir is left-handed and likes to take the fight to the ground and get the submission. So truly there were several adjustments made.” Dos Santos seemed to have no love lost for Frank Mir, when asked about comments he made on the UFC Primetime series, Junior said, “I don’t promote fights by talking trash. I say what I say because I believe it. I confirm and stand by what I said and what I meant by the remark was that I feel that Frank Mir lacks heart and lacks the ability to proceed through rough spots in a fight. That’s my personal opinion. It’s what I truly believe.”
Dos Santos was also asked if there was any extra motivation to avenge the loss of his friend and BJJ coach Minotauro Noguiera. Junior told the press, “Well not really. When Minotauro lost to Frank Mir I was very sad. I was upset, and I think all of Brazil was upset to see that loss and especially those of us who trained with him- his teammates- but what motivates me is to defend my belt. I’m looking at a very good phase in my life professionally and personally- my only motivation going into this fight is to defend my title. To keep this great phase that I’m living going, so revenge doesn’t cross my mind and it certainly doesn’t do anything to make me feel more pressure for this fight.”
Frank Mir shrugged off the comments made by Dos Santos, but Mir did discuss why he feels that Brazilian fans have taken a disliking to the submission specialist.
Mir told reporters, “.. In the Big Nog fight I got my share of emails that I had to translate with Google Translator and they weren’t too flattering. I figured it was just a very small group, but it wasn’t until the video game situation came up when I was scheduled to play with Junior Dos Santos on a video game on THQ to help promote the release of the UFC 3 game. So the day before I guess Junior had received a lot of negative comments and stress from a picture he and I had taken two or three days prior at a fundraiser for children with cancer, and for whatever reason that seemed to upset a lot of the fan base down there and they let him know that. So he offered not to play me in the game because it’s too friendly of a setting for the ire that I brought up I guess amongst some of the Brazilian fans.” Mir went on to say, “I was like ‘Wow’ if it really makes it to where he won’t play me in a video game am I really that disliked and is it really that much of an issue? I thought we were just all fighters and competitors.”
When he was asked about filming the latest UFC Primetime, and the exposure of a lesser seen side of the fighter, Frank said, “Well yes. My father’s been with me since day one, and I’ve always kind of had the mentality with my children- it’s been about three years now that I’ve owned my own gym- just for the sake of having my children there. That’s one of the things I think was neat about the show was that people actually got to see a side of me that I think nobody normally sees.”
In response to a question about transitioning from training to fight Cain Velasquez, to fighting Junior Dos Santos, Mir commented on the similarities and differences in the two combatants. Frank stated, “.. With Cain Velasquez- he is more of a multi-faceted threat. I feel he’s an excellent boxer and obviously his wrestling credentials speak for themselves- and it’s hard to be able to go back and forth between the two- but he makes it almost how it is when you fight Georges (St. Pierre) or some of the other guys in other weight classes. They’re so great at it, you know, you mold into a striking match and then you can take him down- but if you think you’re just going to stop at a takedown then you get punched in the face. So you have to worry about different options with him. With Dos Santos it’s not so much that you have to worry about him taking you down or throwing a kick- I mean he does these things- but he basically concentrates on his stand up with his boxing. You know, it’s hard to argue against him. It’s like the old saying- if it’s not broken don’t fix it.”
UFC 146 airs Saturday May 26th on Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. in the East, and 7 p.m. in the West.Tags: Antonio Silva, Cain Velasquez, featured, frank mir, Junior Dos Santos, mma, ufc, ufc 146, ufc news