Frank Mir breaks down what he expects against Fedor Emelianenko, and explains why you won’t see him in Bellator’s broadcast booth just yet.
After being on the sidelines for the past two years or so, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir is no doubt itching to get back in the cage. In April, he’ll get that chance. Mir will make his Bellator debut, part of the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix. Opposite Mir, himself a legend of the sport, will be one of the biggest legends of all time: Fedor.
“Fedor was just a very big slate on the wall, and now I finally get to fill that.”
The opportunity to fight Fedor Emelianenko doesn’t come around every day. This is a bout fans have wanted to see for ages. For Mir, it’s a chance to fill one of the few unchecked boxes in his storied career. He told Gabriel Gonzalez of Cageside Press/MMA Uncaged that facing ‘The Last Emperor’ is “an awesome opportunity.”
“I basically can stake my career on one of the things I’m very proud about, that I’ve faced a who’s who of the MMA world” he said. “Most of the legends of MMA I’ve been in the octagon, or been in the cage, with. Fedor was just a very big slate on the wall, and now I finally get to fill that.”
As one of the few natural heavyweights in the Grand Prix, does the size advantage give Mir an edge? Mir, well-known as an analyst as well as a fighter, says it can, “if used properly.”
“There is no clear-cut — and that’s why MMA is such a beautiful sport. There is no ‘the taller guy is going to win, or the shorter is going to win, the heavier guy is going to win, the faster guy'” Mir explained. “Different elements of your game can either be assets, or can be detriments if you don’t use them properly.”
“The best commentator crew we’ve ever had, it was Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. As soon as they got rid of Mike Goldberg, it dropped.
Speaking of Mir’s analysis skills, has there been any talk of the heavyweight joining the Bellator broadcast team alongside names like ‘Big’ John McCarthy and Chael Sonnen?
“It’s been brought up before, but I’m really happy with the ACB right now” he told us. As he puts it, “working there, that’s my niche. I’ll fight for Bellator, and they can have their commentator crew and build up.” Working with a partner life Bryan Lacey suits Frank just fine as well, and if he were to jump to Bellator’s booth, he’d want to do it as a team.
“I think that’s really important” Mir said, adding “a lot of people don’t realize, think about the best commentator crew we’ve ever had, it was Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. As soon as they got rid of Mike Goldberg, it dropped. You still had Joe Rogan, shouldn’t it be just as good? No. You can’t fit other good people in there.”
For Mir, even though broadcasters like Jon Anik are very good, “it’s not the same.”
“I think the only thing that’s hurt Fedor is he’s not new. He’s still the same guy. He’s still as dangerous as he always was”
As for the fight with Fedor, was does Mir envision? “I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight for people to watch. Both of us are finishers. Fedor’s not going to try to wrestle me for 15 minutes, I’m not going to try to hold him down for 15 minutes” said the former champion. “Both of us are looking to take each other out with submissions and knockouts. So I think it’s going to make for a real exciting, about, a round a half until somebody makes a mistake.”
Does Fedor being on a skid take any of the shine off? “I don’t think he’s on a skid a far as his abilities” Mir answered. “Yeah, the results are not what we’re used to. The problem is, people are too obsessed with the results, they’re not looking at the process.”
Instead, Frank Mir sees Fedor’s current struggles as a product of the game catching up with one of its greats. “10, 15 years ago, even when I won the title in the UFC, that next day, I went and clocked into work. All of us had jobs. Fedor came in an era where he just trained full time. So he was light years ahead of us at that time, in being well rounded.”
So when it comes to any skid on Fedor’s part, Mir says “I think the only thing that’s hurt Fedor is he’s not new. He’s still the same guy. He’s still as dangerous as he always was, it’s just everybody else has got a lot better.”