Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir made an appearance on today’s episode of MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani on which he discussed his upcoming bout with Pride’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, who stepped in for an injured Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira against Mir.
“Cro Cop” has lost some of the luster that he garnered over years of racking up devastating knockouts in the Pride FC promotion; he has gone 6-3-0, 1 NC since the dissolution of Pride in 2007. His run in the UFC was halted after he suffered an ironic head kick knockout to Gabriel Gonzaga and a groin-shot filled unanimous decision to Cheick Kongo. He returned to the UFC after a successful run in Japanese promotions DREAM and Dynamite!! but his return has been almost as lackluster as the beginning of his UFC career as he has balanced a loss to current number two contender Junior dos Santos with uninspired and slightly controversial wins over Mostapha Al-Turk, Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry. Regardless of that, Mir believes that “Cro Cop” is still dangerous and that his poor performances have been a result of the level of aggressiveness displayed by fighters in the UFC.
“I don’t know if he’s ever really lost his step,” said Mir. “I just think the fighters now in the UFC are just a little bit more aggressive than the fighters in PRIDE. Studying game on him, I noticed that guys that back away from him and give him that respect, it seems like they get unleashed on a little harder than the guys that come forward.”
Mir is an accomplished black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu but sees his bout with “Cro Cop” taking place on the feet, at least to start with.
“I think ‘Cro Cop’ has a good sprawl, he has a good double underhooks,” Mir said. “I think if I were to try to just drop and shoot on him, he would stop my shot. I think standing up with him is actually the route to go at first and then eventually when you work in the clinch, going to the ground is obviously a lot easier to do with him than Nogueira.”
Mir and “Cro Cop” will both be fighting to prove their legitimacy in the UFC’s heavyweight division (“Cro Cop” more so than Mir) this September 25th at UFC 119 which is going down at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.