When Frank Mir met Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the first time back at UFC 92 in 2008, the heavyweight landscape was considerably different. Mir was finally on the upswing and looking consistent following the motorcycle accident that forced him to vacate the UFC heavyweight title in 2004, but Big Nog, then the UFC interim heavyweight champ, was still being picked by most to win.
Mir proved that majority very wrong by knocking out Nogueira in the second round, picking up one of the most impressive victories of his career. Mir was still riding high on his victory when the Nogueira camp took the air out of his sails by revealing that Big Nog had suffered a staph infection shortly before the fight that prevented him from training and left him weak.
Mir has always taken issue with that attempt to discredit his win and, poised to face Big Nog in a rematch this weekend at UFC 140, he’s currently using it as motivation.
“There was a lot of words or circumstances surrounding the last victory as far as how it could have possibly been due to illnesses that Nogueira’s camp said that he had,” Mir said (props to USA Today for the quotes). “It leaves it to where there’s more unfinished business. Any time we state that ‘Well, I lost because of injury,’ I think that’s disrespect towards your opponent. No, the guy in front of you beat you. You didn’t perform maybe to 100% because of an injury, but regardless, there’s so many factors that go into the outcome of a fight.”
Mir and Big Nog square off this Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on the main card of UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida.