09-17-2008, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
| | Mir talks TUF season, Lesnar & TUF favoritism, lack of conditioning
Mir, Nogueira breathe new life into TUF - MMA - Yahoo! Sports
Mir, Nogueira breathe new life into TUF |
By Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports Sep 15, 6:52 pm EDT
The past two seasons of the Ultimate Fighter have been met with criticism on two levels. The first is that the show, which launched mixed martial arts’ popularity in North America, was growing stale.
After all, how many times can you watch unknown fighters training, struggling to make weight and fighting in front of a small audience in the gym before it all starts looking the same?
Second, the depth of talent over the past two seasons hasn’t been as strong as it was in earlier seasons, blamed somewhat on the rise of competing organizations who signed a lot of up-and-coming fighters.
The Spike TV show, which starts its eighth season on Wednesday night, launched the careers of a several top Ultimate Fighting Championship stars, including both competitors in the next light heavyweight title match – champ Forrest Griffin and challenger Rashad Evans.
But it hasn’t turned out a title contender since Matt Serra parlayed winning the fourth season into one of the biggest upsets in company history when he defeated Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title in 2007.
Like last season, the show will start with two weeks of fight-heavy programs in which 32 competitors will be cut down to 16. The winners go into the Ultimate Fighter house for two tournaments that play out over the season.
Unlike the past few seasons, there will be two weight classes, light heavyweights and lightweights, each evolving into eight-man tournaments.
Interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir will coach, building up to the live final on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas and their own championship match two weeks later.
The one notable difference this year is that the “cast” features the highest quality of experienced fighters since the show’s early days.
“I think all 16 will be able to hang on as at least regular preliminary fighters,” said Mir. “Maybe three or four guys will end up becoming household names.”
Since midway through filming, which took place over the summer, UFC president Dana White has talked about one of the fighters, a lightweight, who he said will be the next Anderson Silva.
“The only thing is, you won’t be seeing a lot of him inside the cage,”
said Mir, who could not reveal the name due to confidentiality, but indicated the fighter probably scores some quick wins.
The betting line is the fighter in question is Joseph Duarte of San Diego, who has a 19-1 record as a kickboxer, a 9-0 record as a boxer and a 3-0 record as an MMA fighter. But six of the 16 lightweights came into the show undefeated.
“This isn’t like some of the other seasons where only a few guys could win,” said Mir. “You put these guys in a tournament 10 times, and you could get 10 different sets of winners. That’s how close the talent was.”
The light heavyweight division includes former IFL heavyweight star Krzysztof Sosynski, Jason Guida (younger brother of popular UFC fighter Clay), two-time All-American wrestler Ryan Jimmo from Arizona State (a college teammate of UFC star Cain Velasquez), three-time world jiu-jitsu bronze medalist Vinicius Magalhaes and former Arizona State football player Kyle Kingsbury, who trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.
Mir said what you won’t see from the coaches this season is the kind of animosity most notable when enemies like B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz or Matt Serra and Matt Hughes were in the position.
“The guy (Nogueira) is everything I thought he would be,” said Mir, whose fighting idol was Nogueira when he was breaking in and Nogueira was ranked No. 1 in the world as Pride heavyweight champion. “He’s a complete professional, very honorable and a very well-schooled student of the game. He studies everything in MMA, boxing, wrestling and jiu-jitsu.”
But Mir noted that for people who like that sort of thing, you get more than your fair share among the fighters themselves, saying there were things that happened in the house and even during matches that have never happened before.
“Some practices, it would take 30 minutes before we would get started because the fighters had to tell me everything going on in the house,” he said. “There were some things (in fights) that nearly had to be taken to the athletic commission. One time I was so stunned I couldn’t even react.”
Mir readily admits he’s the underdog in his match with Nogueira as part of UFC’s tournament and says the big question is his cardio.
“If it was a one-round fight, I wouldn’t sweat it,” said Mir, who has never gone longer than three rounds in a fight and never looked strong in his longer outings. “But when it comes to rounds three and four, I have to prove something. If I was him, I’d concentrate on defending in the first round and think I could take advantage later.”
He blamed the nature of his training, where he’d take too many days off before fights because he’d gotten beaten up so badly that he didn’t look forward to coming back for the fight. He said a change in coaches has benefited him greatly and believes his conditioning has improved over the last year plus. But until he goes into the later rounds, he admits that it’s unproven.
“I’m not a fitness freak who needs to have good abs,” he said. “I’m a martial artist. I need to get in shape while training at martial arts doing things that make me feel I’m improving myself as a fighter.”
Mir is a little unhappy at the developments in recent weeks, where Couture faces Brock Lesnar on Nov. 15 as part of a tournament, saying he recognizes it’s going to sell a lot of tickets, but doesn’t feel Lesnar has done anything to earn a world championship match when compared to contenders like Fabricio Werdum and Gabriel Gonzaga.
“I think that Lesnar’s name is the only reason he’s getting a title match,” said Mir. “I understand why. A ton of people are going to tune into it. I know I am. But it is a business.”
Mir’s spot as a coach and title contender is largely based on the many eyeballs that watched Lesnar’s debut, where Lesnar pounded on Mir for about 85 seconds before Mir caught him in a kneebar in a scramble for the submission.
“Brock Lesnar is a force to be reckoned with,” Mir said. “He’s a super strong, fast guy with great wrestling. But two years of training and three fights won’t bode him well against Randy Couture. He (Couture) was the same level of great wrestler 12 and 15 years ago and now he’s an accomplished mixed martial artist who outstruck Chuck Liddell when they fought the first time.”
Unlike White, who has seen the success of many of the fighters and said the six weeks of intensive training during filming is a crash course that leads to fast improvement, Mir wasn’t sold on the idea.
“Six weeks isn’t enough time to get to fully know everyone,” he said. “I think they would have been better off fighting in their normal camps. They’d be around their regular partners, coaches and see their girlfriends. Here they are in a house surrounded by people who they are going to have to fight. Some of them I don’t think performed as well as they could.”
But he did see this as a fast track to stardom for those who have the talent.
“Look at Jon Fitch,” he said of the UFC welterweight who spent years working his way toward a title shot. “If he was on the show (a few seasons back), he probably would have won. And in two or three fights, he’d be in line for a title fight. It took him eight fights and probably two or three more years to be seen at that level.”
Mir is awesome. He should replace Goldie when he's not fighting/training.
If he beats Nog and Lesnar pummels Randy, they can unite the title in a rematch. I don't think he can hang with Nog though but I hope he proves me wrong.
09-17-2008, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
i predict Mir for some reason lately I'm just feeling that way and I want to say by Kimura
09-18-2008, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Gsp's blood will taste even better.
09-18-2008, 10:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
i really wanna see who this next anderson silva is cuz it sure isnt joe duarte since he already lost
Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests) |
All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:34 PM.
Quick Member Login
Top 5 Latest Threads
Latest MMA News