Frank Mir Aims to Become Three-Time UFC Heavyweight Champion Against Junior dos Santos

May 25, 2012 – 10:20 am by Eric Schmoldt

Frank Mir has mostly shrugged off a recent comment from Junior dos Santos that essentially questioned his toughness and heart. He does, however, take a slight jab in the following interview, saying that he wishes dos Santos would’ve picked some more savvy trash talk that was tougher to deflect.

Mir also says that the comment might have been more driven to get some media hype surrounding the bout. It’s pretty hard to question Mir’s toughness, seeing as he’s a two-time champ that almost lost his life to a motorcycle accident, who is back looking to be the UFC’s first three-time heavyweight champ. The all-heavyweight UFC 146 is available via pay-per-view Saturday night.

Frank Mir joined ESPN 1400 in Las Vegas with Gridlock to discuss the journey to get to this position, if there’s a weakness in dos Santos’ game, dos Santos questioning his heart, the submission move that broke Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s arm, if he’s ever bet on himself and why it’s so hard for heavyweights to retain their title for long stretches.

What’s the journey been like where you’re a two-time champion and have battled back trying to win at heavyweight again?:

“It’s one of those things where it’s foot in front of the other and one step at a time. A lot of times, you don’t really think about it until you’re looking back on his career.”

Do you see weaknesses in his game?:

“Well, you know, the weaknesses are just the unknown factors. We’ve never seen him on the ground, never been attempted in a submission, so I’ve got to assume it’s something that he doesn’t feel comfortable. So I’m banking it as a weakness.”

On Junior dos Santos questioning his heart:

“I don’t know where the line comes from. I think it comes more from the fact of possibly just trying to sell the fight more, get a little bit more media attention. We all know that car wrecks are interesting. Outlandish statements or provocative words cause people to pay attention more. So, I think it was more from that. I’m grateful that he didn’t pick a more intelligent one that was a little bit more savvy. The one he went for was a little bit easier to deflect.”

On beating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by submission when he broke his arm because he didn’t tap out:

“The move is the same on my part. I apply pressure and you tap. The only difference is on the part of the person receiving the move. If they don’t tap, it’s not my fault. It’s the same as a quarterback running the open field. If you go for a slide, I’m not going to hit you very hard. But if you choose to stay on your feet and lower your helmet, I’m going to hit you like any other player, and if you get hurt, it’s not my fault.”

Have you ever bet on yourself? You’re a pretty big underdog in this fight:

“I have people around me who were able to benefit greatly from that throughout my career. … Me, personally, I stay away from the sportsbook. I was born and raised in Vegas. I’ve seen some bad situations occur, people misunderstand things, so it’s better I stay away from it.”

Why is it so difficult for people to hold onto the heavyweight title belt over long stretches?:

“It’s the nature of heavyweight fighting. You have very skilled, powerful, large men throwing hard. It’s hard to be consistent, especially against the top competition in the world. In some of the other weight classes, it gets to a point where they don’t really have the one shot to knock people out, whereas in the heavyweight division, just pretty much anybody who has a UFC contract, you land a shot on anybody else, the fight’s over.”

Listen to Frank Mir on ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas here

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