After screaming in horror at Dan Miragliotta's decision to allow Shane Carwin to repeatedly punch a man laying face down with his arms out, it struck me that Frank Mir's career is once again at a crossroads. Having lost two of three fights at heavyweight, he once again finds himself in a position where he must win his next fight to stay relevant.
Frank Mir is one of the company's top attractions, mostly because of his way with words. He doesn't need to be a world beater to stay on top of cards, he simply needs to stay relevant. Even though he lost to Shane Carwin this past Saturday, if he wins two fights while Brock, Shane, and Cain work out the title situation, he could find himself right in line for a shot at the title again. I don't believe he has the physical gifts required to be the UFC heavyweight champion, but he certainly has the brains to remain a top draw.
The first thing Mir must decide is whether to continue his effort to put on size. His physical transformation suggests to me that he spends almost as much time lifting as he does training his skills. Coming out of his fight with Lesnar, I believe Mir drew the wrong conclusion. He convinced himself that strength was the only reason for his loss, and that if he could close the gap he had the skills to beat anyone.
He may have looked as big or bigger than Shane Carwin, but it didn't matter. Carwin was the stronger man, and had his way with Mir. Mir's defense against the cage was hapless; he simply stood still without making any notable efforts to create distance or pull guard. It was almost as if he didn't anticipate the fight taking place anywhere besides on the ground or at striking range.
I think an appropriate fight for Frank Mir is Junior Dos Santos. Dos Santos has been on a reign of terror since debuting in the UFC against Fabricio Werdum, but he's still a few fights away from a title shot. A dominant win over Frank Mir would put him in prime position to go for the title at the end of 2010. For Mir, in order to prove his relevance he must show that he can beat one of the UFC's young lions at heavyweight.