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Frank Mir Biography

MMA Biography: Frank Mir

By Loot, MMA Handicapper,

Frank Mir is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. No heavyweight had made more UFC appearances than Frank Mir, whose career has seen many ups-and-downs. Not many big men can say they stuck around in the UFC for as long as Mir had during his illustrious career in MMA’s top organization.

He began wrestling in high school and wasn’t very good at first. But by his senior year, he whipped his game into shape and won the state championship. The UFC saw him as a future star and Mir began working on his MMA. After two wins in lower-end fights, Mir made his UFC debut in 2001 at age 22. For the next 11 years, it would be the only organization in which he fought.

His first fight in the UFC was against Roberto Traven, who Mir submitted in just 1:05 of the first round. In his next fight, he took on veteran Pete Williams, who also could not resist the submission, as he tapped out in just :46 of the first round. Mir, with only a handful of fights, began building his reputation as a submission artist.

But Mir’s rise would not be without setbacks. At UFC 38 in London, Mir seemed on the verge of another submission over tough Ian Freeman, but Freeman survived the holds and after assuming control, rained shots down on Mir, who sustained a cut. The referee broke the action to examine Mir’s cut, but he didn’t seem to have his balance and the referee ruled a controversial TKO. He came back to defeat Tank Abbott with a toe-hold submission. After two wins over Wes Sims, Mir earned a shot at the vacant UFC Heavyweight Champion against Tim Sylvia.

Mir was fantastic against the difficult Sylvia, applying an armbar that broke Sylvia’s arm in four places. It took all of 50 seconds and Mir was the new champion, but the honeymoon wouldn’t last long. A few months later, Mir was involved in a bad accident, resulting in a broken leg and major knee injuries. The injury forced a long layoff that resulted in Mir being stripped of his title.


Less than a year-and-a-half later, Mir was back in the octagon. His comeback got off to a bad start, as he was stopped in the first round by MMA newcomer Marcio Cruz, who was participating in only in his second fight. Mir bounced back with a decision win, but then suffered another setback--losing by TKO in just 1:09 to the much smaller Brandon Vera. Many began wondering if Mir’s era had passed or if he would be ever be the same fighter that he was prior to the accident.

A submission win in 1:17 of the first round over Antoni Hardonk pumped such much-needed positive momentum into Mir’s sagging career. He used that positive inertia in his next fight, facing new sensation Brock Lesnar. Mir was a significant underdog, but endured Lesnar’s initial (and illegal) assault. Using Lesnar’s strength against him, Mir locked in the kneebar, which forced Lesnar to tap out in the second round. The win once again placed Mir among the UFC heavyweight elite.

A knockout of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira earned Mir the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship, the second time he would claim a version of that title. But in his next fight, Lesnar exacted revenge by pounding Mir into a 2nd-round TKO defeat. He returned with a nice win--a submission in just 1:12 of contender Cheick Kongo. His next fight, however, was a disaster. Trying to win the interim title with Lesnar out of commission, he took on big-hitting contender Shane Carwin, suffering a TKO defeat in the first round.

As is his wont, Mir bounced back. So many times he was counted out, only to bounce right back with something big. Mir would go on to score a trio of consecutive victories to put himself right back at the top of the ratings, beating Crocop, Roy Nelson, and repeating a win over Nogueira. When Alistair Overeem tested positive, Mir was brought in to fill in and challenge Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos for the title. He was stopped in the second round. He would also lose to the likes of Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, and eventually to Overeem. It didn’t matter, as his legacy was already secure. His final chapter is typical, as a lot of great fighters don’t leave on the most positive of terms. It has been a rocky career, with many triumphs and some setbacks. But Frank Mir has endured and is one of the signature heavyweights in the history of the UFC.

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