After four losses in a row and a one-year long hiatus, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will return to the Octagon this Saturday to face Brazilian giant Antonio Silva in the main event of UFC Fight Night 61 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
In an interview with The Fight Corner the 35-year old weighed in on the fight and his chances of keeping his career alive. For a regular UFC fighter, it's usually three strikes and you're out, so for Mir, who hasn't won a fight since 2011, it could be do or die on Saturday, but still he feels that the performance he can put on matters more than winning or losing:
"If I go out there and have a win, but it's still a pretty poor performance - that's happened in fights before where guys go out there and they're performing poorly, but they end up catching somebody in a knockout or a submission hold - that wouldn't be a good thing. That would be more of a time to really think about where I'm going career-wise. Whereas I go out there and have a dominant performance and were to get caught and something were to happen, well I can't guarantee outcomes, but at least I can prove I'm still a viable fighter and healthy and still able to compete at a high level. So that's really what I'm out there to prove in this fight that I'm really capable of still performing at a high level."
On Saturday, Mir will face "Bigfoot" Silva, a 6 ft 4 in colossus with slick submission skills and lots of power in both of his huge hands. While Mir grants him a solid base in the standup department, he thinks that Silva relies too much on his counter-punching, so that the Brazilian will have a "little bit of a hard time" dealing with him.
Mir isn't scared of going to the ground with the BJJ black belt either. Silva recently stated in an interview with Brazilian broadcaster Globo that he will have no problem submitting Mir, who is a high-level black belt himself. Mir replies that he finds this scenario "very unlikely" and delivers an explanation right away: Silva's submission victims are not highlighted on Wikipedia.
"Anybody with decent skill, like he has - he's a black belt in jiu-jitsu - could submit me. But a lot of things are probability and statistics. I'm very much of a scientist. If I was to put money on it, I wouldn't bet a dollar that he could submit me. Because statistically looking, well, who has he submitted? [...] Well if I look at his list real quick, he has three submissions," Mir continued. "One of them was submission by knockout. Well, I think that's a TKO. And I looked at the other two submissions and...his opponents names on Wikipedia, they were not highlighted. So I have no idea who they were. So I don't know if they were very good. Whereas some of the guys that I've submitted and avoided being submitted by, their names are in blue and you can touch them and they're quite extensive in the submission world and very savvy. I've fought guys that are Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champions and been able to submit them."
Submission savvy or not, Mir will not only be up against one of the biggest opponents he has ever faced, but against over 10,000 hostile Brazilian fans in the crowd who are known for giving every non-Brazilian fighter a hard time coming out of the locker room. However, Mir sees it the other way around. He feels, with such fans the home field advantage can actually be a real disadvantage to every Brazilian fighter.
"Obviously, I'm heading into enemy territory, but I firmly believe that Brazilians are one of the few cultures where it's not an advantage to have home field. Reason being is there's so much pressure. You see it when they go out there. There's just all that intensity they have for the enemy. I can't imagine what the other guy is thinking. It's like ‘man, if I don't pull this off, I'm going to have a long walk back to the locker room,'" Mir laughed.
(Transcription taken from The Fight Corner)