A true veteran of the sport, Frank Mir knows how to exploit his opponents weaknesses. For his upcoming title fight against champion, Junior dos Santos – Mir is confident he knows the game-plan he needs to implement to regain the title, as he lays it out for Inside MMA.
“Obviously, we’re fighting a guy who’s made his career now of not going to the ground. The only time I’ve ever seen him take a shot is if he’s pretty handily winning the fight. He just does it to, maybe a change of pace to throw something out there. But as far as, you see when people engage him, he’s a ‘throw punches and run’ kind of guy. He doesn’t wanna sit there and get grabbed and taken down. He’s not gonna fight that battle. If he was capable of doing it, we probably would’ve seen it already. The fact is that he avoids it like it’s poison. I think for two reasons: One, I don’t he’s probably that very good on the ground, and two, he is so good on his feet.”
The former champ sees many parallels in his previously scheduled opponent, Cain Velasquez, and current opponent JDS. The transition in styles wasn’t the worst, as Mir had foreseen the likely-hood of the match-up shortly after Overeem’s controversial positive testing for elevated T/E levels.
“Well, you know what, because I was scheduled to fight Cain Velasquez already, on May 26, two things entered my mind. One, Cain Velasquez is known for having a gas tank. So, even if you’re in a fight and you’re beating him, first, second round, the guy can always come back. He has a phenomenal ability just to drive forward. You saw that with Cheick Kongo. Even though he was hit by him and hurt, he was able to come back and, by attrition, came forward. And so, we were already preparing for what we expected to be a hard, gritty battle. And on top of that, we had already told the coaches, ‘Hey, you know what? It happens all the time in MMA.’ The UFC is flooded with stories of main events being changed over due to injuries. Since I’m already fighting on the card with the heavyweight battles being taken on, why not be ready? I don’t wanna take a chance to where, a week out, three or four days out — sometimes the day before, you fight out that someone can’t compete and someone has to step up, and I wanted to be able to do so.”
JDS is not as well-rounded in his MMA game as Cain Velasquez, according to Mir, but he is the best striker in the division he admits. The obvious game-plan, suggests Mir, would be to test everything else. Mir is confident that the champ will be a fish out of water when they hit the ground.
“Well, Velasquez, I think, is an excellent boxer and wrestler. I think he’s really well-rounded. I know that he count against dos Santos. A lot of people knock his boxing skills, but a couple fights before, he was knocking Nogueira out, within a minute. So, I really thought that was a bad interpretation of what Velasquez brought. The only difference that I feel with dos Santos is that dos Santos is the better boxer, quicker hands. He just isn’t as multi-faceted as Velasquez is. As far as, when you fight dos Santos, I don’t think it’s any secret, he has no chance of winning the fight if it goes to the ground. If we go into a wrestling match, he’s in trouble. He has to keep it where he’s best at, and you know, he’s the best boxer in the heavyweight division.
“I agree. I think if you move away from him, in the past when you see anyone move back, he gains momentum coming forward and is able to generate that much more power. I think the best way to fight him is, you know, take how (Evander) Holyfield fought Mike Tyson. You can’t back up on a guy who’s very powerful and very quick. It only gives him momentum to build forward. You have to come forward and crash.”
Transcribed by MMAMania.com