Frank Mir has been vocal since their first fight – which took place at UFC 92 in 2008 – that he would have defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira staph infection or not and, while he hasn’t exactly been campaigning for a rematch, he’s looking forward to facing him for the second time this weekend at UFC 140 to prove that he’s the better fighter once and for all.
“If he thought the fight at 92 was bad, look at my stand up now,” Mir says. “Now I’m standing with Mirko Cro Cop, I’m knocking Cheick Kongo on his butt with strikes. I’m a much more accomplished striker now than I was then. Why would you want to test those waters again?”
Mir knows that just because he knocked Nogueira out in two rounds in their first meeting that it doesn’t mean he’ll have as much ease dispatching of him this time around.
“Nogueira, still, if I make a mistake, he has an extremely good guillotine, a side choke – I think his chokes are improved upon, probably the best aspect of his game now. In the past I think he’d more or less pivot on arms and omoplatas and triangles from his back,” he assesses. “Now, he’s very good at establishing control from the top and hunting for submissions. That guillotine of his doesn’t get the respect it really deserves.”
Still, the former UFC heavyweight champion is very confident heading into this rematch, as he believes he’s a much better version of the fighter who put away Big Nog three years ago.
“I’m getting better and better every fight,” he says. “I’m a better Frank Mir now than I was two years ago, four years ago. I don’t know if Nogueira can say the same thing. Is he constantly improving? Is he a better Nogueira now than he was years ago? For us to come together at this point, it favors me.”
UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida goes down tomorrow night from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. FightLine will be back tomorrow with live, ongoing coverage of the event, beginning around 6:00pm ET.