(Video via IronForgesIron.com)
It’s not the match we were promised, but it’s the one we’re going to watch. We’re only weeks away from UFC 146 and the heavyweight title bout between Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir. In addition to the twelve pounds of gold at stake, we are witnessing a former champion’s quest to return to the top of his division and the familiar story arc of redemption and payback for a fallen master. There’s also a shooting range and lots of big guns. Whichever strikes your fancy, this Primetime comes correct.
Things open up with Junior Dos Santos’ mentor, Big Nog, showing up at his gym in Salvador, Brazil. The surprise appearance provides an emotional boost to the young champion.
“It wasn’t pain. I was very disappointed.” – Big Nog, on having his arm snapped by Frank Mir. It’s easy to write this off as a mistranslation, but English or Portuguese, it doesn’t matter; Minotauro doesn’t know the definition of pain in any language.
“I don’t know why everybody worships this guy. His ground game is very simple. It’s only his attacks that are a little dangerous.” – Big Nog, telling Junior Dos Santos that he has little to fear from Frank Mir. Later, he explained that cobras are only dangerous if they bite you and that fire only burns you when it’s hot.
“He’s not a man. He gives up. Against Shane Carwin, he pretended he was hurt. He’s full of it.” – Junior Dos Santos, questioning Mir’s heart. In Frank Mir’s defense, Carwin ‘pretended’ to hit him very, very hard.
“There’s no ego anymore. I could care less. It’s like, yeah, you’re tough. I’m tough. Everybody’s tough.” – Frank Mir, on his new attitude. I for one will miss the swagger and incredible self-confidence, but I guess I’ll just have to get used to the New Frank Mir, as I’m certain he won’t say anything cocky or over-the-top from this point on in his career.
“I have three kids, but I have two belts. So when I pass away and they have to divide it up I don’t want them to have an argument about who doesn’t get a belt, so I have to make sure that before I retire I get a third one so it makes that argument easy.” – Mir, on troubles in his household. Sure, that’s a unique problem for a family to have, but I’d like to see how things are settled in his house when Frank gets up to use the restroom and forgets to ‘call’ his seat.
Mir’s father, wife, and young kids maintain a strong presence at his gym, and they take precedence over his training partners. It sounds like his children are an incredible motivation, but when he’d potentially sacrifice aspects of his training for their play time I have to wonder if they’re a distraction at the gym as well. Still, it’s great to see him in the role of loving father. I only wish his twitter-loving step-son had been there to share his thoughts on this match up.
Back in Salvador, Brazil, Dos Santos is getting his props as the people’s champ.
“I was from a very poor family, so I didn’t have very good opportunities. I discovered a way for me to be bigger than I ever dreamed before.” – Dos Santos, on his climb to the top. Many people have found a way to be bigger than they’d ever dreamed; let’s just hope his way consists of acai smoothies and hard work.
“I feel that protecting yourself and protecting my family is the obligation of every father.” – Mir, shooting off some big guns at the firing range. Hey, we respect that kind of fire power.
“The one thing I possess is versatility. I always try to find a way to win. JDS has, I think, a great tool. I think his boxing is top notch, but whenever he’s seen obstacles in his fights he just keeps using the boxing. You’ve got to remember this is mixed martial arts; there’s more to this than just boxing.” – Mir, on his opponent’s weapons. Mir really hits the nail on the head here. He’s simply too versatile to lose to a ‘one-dimensional’ fighter.
“Every fight it seems like I’m almost doubted. The naysayers say I shouldn’t be there. Somehow I keep pulling out victories. I have the most wins out of any heavyweight in the division. I have the most submissions. I have all these accolades to prove that, hey, you know, I’m not just talking it, I’m backing it up.” – Mir, on his apparently unsung credentials. It’s good to see that the New Frank Mir hasn’t forgotten his accomplishments.
“JDS is a young guy. If I catch him in a hold and he taps, he lives to fight another day. If I catch him in a hold and he decides not to tap, that limb, is it ever going to be the same again? I have enough of a history about me now that if you get locked in a hold of mine and you choose not to tap, that’s something you’ve trained for for weeks coming up to and you’ve watched my videos and you’ve studied me…if you make that mistake that’s your fault, that’s not mine. What is your life going to be like afterwards? What is your career going to be like afterwards? I’m bigger and stronger. One wrong mistake and now he’s in trouble and has to tap or deal with the consequences.” – Mir, on torquing a limb beyond its breaking point. And just in time for the closing credits, it’s official: the Old Frank Mir is back!