Former UFC champ Frank Mir was once sitting atop the heavyweight division before a motorcycle accident nearly ended his career. His road back has been a rocky one. A couple tough losses had him questioning his decision to keep fighting, but he has since rededicated himself to the sport and has found new life after a high-profile victory over Brock Lesnar.
Now he’s coaching opposite Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter,” premiering Wednesday night on Spike TV. In this exclusive interview with CagePotato.com, Mir talks about his impending fight with Nogueira, Randy Couture’s return, and just how much he hates cardio training.
CagePotato.com: Frank, we’ve heard past coaches say they don’t like how long the show keeps them out of action, how they’re fighters and not coaches. What was your experience like coaching “The Ultimate Fighter?”
I found it quite enjoyable. I really didn’t think it was all that difficult to be honest with you. Obviously nothing’s easy in the fight game, but it wasn’t like I resented the position at all. It opened my eyes up to a lot of new things as a fighter, seeing other people and how they react to different situations, how they deal with things, and helped me understand how to help them out by thinking about what I would need in that situation. It was kind of nice to jump back that way because it gave me a better understanding of myself.
What does it do to your climactic fight with Nogueira now that Randy Couture is back in the UFC and they’re hyping his match with Brock Lesnar, a man you beat, for the heavyweight title?
I definitely think it takes some of the wind out of the sails. That’s for sure. But I love the fact that Randy’s back. I think he’s a great representative of the sport and I thought it was a travesty that he might have ended his career in a courtroom.
The fact that he’s back, I think that’s great. I’m not upset with that at all, but I think that Nogueira obviously should have been his first fight back, since he’s holding the interim belt. But since Nogueira and I are already slated to fight each other I thought that with him coming back he would wait to fight the winner of Nogueira and myself. I think that would have worked out perfectly. But with contract negotiations and all that I don’t know what the deal was.
The only thing I’m at odds with is that he’s fighting a month before Nogueira and I fight, and that brings up the question of what we’re fighting for. Now he’s fighting Lesnar and he’s getting a shot at the heavyweight title while I’m getting a shot at the interim title. Since I just beat Lesnar, that’s kind of interesting.
Interesting is one word for it. Obviously you’re focused on fighting Nogueira now, so how do you think you stack up against him? What do you do better than him?