Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir hopes to avoid his fifth straight loss when he steps in the cage for a rematch with fellow Las Vegan Roy Nelson in the main event of a Bellator MMA event on Friday night in Connecticut.
The 41-year-old Mir may not have been able to handle such adversity early in his career.
“Sometimes people let a loss or couple losses define them,” the Bonanza High School alum told the Review-Journal by phone on Thursday. “I realized people win or lose all the time. (Michael) Jordan has missed game-winning shots. Every athlete has had a moment where they just drop the ball. It’s just the way it is.”
Mir said what separates those who make it in athletics is a willingness to risk failing in front of the whole world on the biggest stages.
“The reason the spectators are there is because they’re too cowardly to face humiliation,” he said. “That’s why public speaking is like everyone’s No. 1 fear. Why? You go out there and look stupid and you’re humiliated. Why is that such a bad thing? People are humans and we hate to be humiliated. I’m able to overcome that and override it and just realize some days I’ll be humiliated and some days I’ll be the one doing the humiliating.”
He hopes to once again come out on the right side of that equation when he faces Nelson, a Cimarron-Memorial product.
Nelson, 43, has lost three straight himself. He gets another crack at Mir more than eight years after Mir dominated ground position in a unanimous decision victory on the UFC 130 card at the MGM Grand.
The rematch will take place in the main event of Bellator 231 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Mir doesn’t expect much to have changed since the first meeting.
“I think my wrestling really caught him by surprise last time,” Mir said. “I’m sure he’s worked on that to try to close the gap. But knowing Roy, his standup is going to be the same standup we’ve seen the last 15 years. There’s never been a 2.0 version. Roy is Roy. His performances have always stayed consistently the same. Where he’s dangerous, he’s always been dangerous. His weaknesses have never really been firmed up.”
Bellator is essentially marketing the bout as an old-school loser leaves town match with only the victor likely to keep his job in the organization.
Mir isn’t too concerned with that potential fate as he believes he is marketable enough to potentially make even more money on the open market.
Another win over Nelson wouldn’t exactly move the needle for Mir, either.
He does plan to continue fighting regardless of the outcome, though he doesn’t really have a particular goal in mind for the future.
“As far as accomplishments, there’s really nothing left,” he said. “I’ve been a champion. I’m in the (Southern Nevada Sports) Hall of Fame as the first MMA fighter to go in there. As far as accolades, I’m satisfied. But as far as the lifestyle of still going out there and training every day, a lot of people do what I do, they just don’t do it at the level I’m at. Most guys have to pay $120 to go compete in a tournament on the weekend or whatever. I get paid quite a bit to do it.”
Mir said retiring and working a 9-to-5 job could always be a possiblity at some point, but it wouldn’t provide the same opportunities to be in the gym amongst fellow athletes and would cut down on the time he has to spend with his family.
“I’ve done this for so long and I still enjoy it,” he said. “I may as well do it as long as I can.”
The card will air at 6 p.m. on Paramount Network and DAZN. Jake Hager, who competed in the WWE under the moniker Jack Swagger, will fight for the third time as a professional when he takes on heavyweight Anthony Garrett.