It's not surprising to hear Frank Mir speak glowingly about a chance encounter with a fellow fighter.
But the recipient of his praise in a recent interview was someone who had never stepped into an octagon and perhaps never even a gym.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder expressed his admiration of Ruby Duncan, who has long fought for the rights of underprivileged Southern Nevadans.
Mir got the opportunity to meet her, along with several prominent Nevada politicians, when he attended a speech by President Obama at UNLV this month.
"Ruby Duncan is a historical figure in Vegas and somebody who really embodies attributes that I admire," Mir said. "I know as athletes we are looked up to and I get all that, but somebody that devotes her life to the betterment of mankind is somebody who is to be truly admired."
The native Las Vegan said he has taken an interest in the political world and might consider running for office when his fighting career is over. In the meantime, he does his best to stay informed.
"Politics affects everybody's daily life," the 31-year-old said. "I never want to be one of those guys that bellyaches in a bar about the president or Congress and at the end of the day you never vote or talk about what's going on or do anything as far as having any kind of influence."
Mir is even better versed in the cage, and the UFC officially announced Monday that he would face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a rematch in the main event of UFC 119 on Sept. 25 in Indianapolis.
Nogueira has been seeking a rematch for some time, claiming he was suffering from a staph infection when Mir knocked him out in December 2008.
While Mir clearly has his eyes set on a rubber match with Brock Lesnar and another shot at the title down the road, he said he was more than willing to grant Nogueira a rematch.
"I'll take any challenges they put in front of me," he said.
Mir said his goals are more personal, namely working each day to become a better and more complete mixed martial arts fighter.
Coming off a first-round knockout loss to Shane Carwin in March, Mir believes he is better than he was when he fought Nogueira the first time.
"I know that I'm a lot different as far as constantly improving, but I'm not sure about him, to be quite honest with you," Mir said. "I think the biggest difference you'll see in our fight is I think I'll find a more determined Nogueira. I think he's inspired, and I think he takes this fight personally."
Mir is committed to reaching the top of the heavyweight division after briefly considering a drop to light heavyweight. He said he got down to 228 pounds but realized that taking the time to properly drop to 205 would keep him out of action far longer than he wanted.
Mir said he is back up to around 250 pounds.
Nogueira's twin brother, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, will fight Ryan Bader on the same card. Also, Chris Lytle will take on Matt Serra.
■ SHIELDS SIGNS DEAL -- After Jake Shields allowed his Strikeforce contract to expire, it seemed only a matter of time until he signed with the UFC.
On Monday, his signing became official.
Shields, who was the Strikeforce middleweight champion, will move back down to welterweight and debut with his new organization against Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 on Oct. 23 in Anaheim, Calif.
Shields announced the signing and the fight on his Twitter account Monday.
■ IFC RECAP -- Paul Daley picked up a victory on an Impact Fighting Championships card Sunday in Sydney, Australia, in his first fight since being released from the UFC in May for striking Josh Koscheck well after the final bell.
Daley forced Daniel Acacio to verbally submit after splitting open his face with an elbow early in the third round.
Also, Pedro Rizzo dismantled Ken Shamrock in a main-event matchup of two of the early stars of the UFC, and oft-troubled former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Paulo Filho fought Denis Kang to a draw.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-227-5509.