Heavyweight submission artist Frank Mir talked about the pressures of bouncing back from losing to current heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, who should be next in line for the belt, his win over Cheick Kongo, and the added weight to his physique at the UFC 107 post-fight press conference Saturday night in Memphis.
The noticeably heavier Frank Mir, who packed on an extra 15-20 pounds of muscle before his fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 107, stressed the importance of the weight increase he has recently taken on since his lost to Brock Lesnar. Mir’s current goal is to be a fighter that has to cut 15-20 pounds to make the 265lbs heavyweight limit. “Being more powerful is an important attribute to being successful with strikes and submissions. Being big and powerful is just good for my style.” Mir explained the weight change is something that had to happen in order for him to stay competitive in a division of larger opponents.
The strategy paid off for Mir, who made quick work of dismantling the towering Parisian kickerboxer, Cheick Kongo via guillotine choke in the first round Saturday night. The outcome against Kongo, who virtually has no ground game, was expected by most but still held importance to Mir. Leading up to the fight with Kongo, Mir needed to answer questions regarding his ability to deal with pressure after coming off the devastating loss to Brock Lesnar back at UFC 100.
“Tonight I made a statement more for myself and my training camp to show that I can bounce back from a decisive loss to Brock. On the mental side, a loss to Cheick would have been a bad statement for my career. He was an opponent that I felt I had to go out there and decisively smash to make a statement.” A loss or a unanimous decision would have been a staggering blow to any kind of title run against Lesnar, a man who keeps Mir motivated to the point of obsession.
When asked if he thought the disease inflicted Lesnar witnessed his fight, Mir said, “I just want Brock to get healthy to be honest with you. He’s a father and a human-being so at the end of the day I don’t wish him any ill will but if he watched the fight maybe he might not be so inclined to get healthy.”
Dana White reiterated that he would not know if the current heavyweight champ would need major surgery for another month or two but if that is the case, the UFC would create an interim belt. Frank Mir believes that either way he would be in the mix with other contenders after showcasing improved striking against Kongo where he landed a powerful blow that sent his opponent to the canvas leading to the decisive submission victory.
“I did something to Cheick that Cain Velesquez couldn’t do in three rounds. I nearly knocked Cheick out and then I submitted him. We’ll see what Shane Carwin does after his knee surgery,” Mir explained after being asked if he thought his win propelled him into contention for the heavyweight belt. Regardless of who is next for Mir, his performance impressed the UFC boss.
“I think this is the most shocked I’ve been after a Frank Mir fight,” White admitted. “I was expecting a back and forth war, considering all the shit talking he did leading up to this fight with Cheick. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something in a fight and actually do it. Frank looked awesome, it was an incredible fight.”