Hometown UFC fighter Frank Mir has had a roller-coaster MMA career, and he’s just 29. He’ll compete against Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira for the interim heavyweight belt this week at UFC 92.
You have been on many magazine covers, including most recently, Muscle and Fitness, but what was it like seeing your face all around town on the cover of the Las Vegas Weekly back in June of 2003?
A lot of different fans started coming up to me and speaking to me about my career. I think my family enjoys seeing it a lot more than I do. I’ve never really taken it that seriously. Whenever I do get a cover it just allows me to talk to a lot more people.
You often speak of other fighters, like Nogueira, as good role models for the sport. How do you feel about being a role model yourself for young fighters, including those you train locally at Striking Unlimited?
As long as I can help them in a positive way, it’s a great thing. I think other fighters can see that I’ve had hardships, in and out of the cage, and I’ve persevered and pushed forward. If other people can take that and incorporate it into their lives, then obviously that is rewarding for me to see.
What do you think about the interim heavyweight belt you’re fighting for?
I think it’s confusing to a lot of the fans. When [Randy] Couture came back, he should have had to wait to fight the winner of Nogueira and myself. I think unifying the [interim heavyweight and heavyweight] belts should have been the first goal.
You didn’t let your oldest son watch the last few episodes of The Ultimate Fighter this season. How did you feel Junie Browning’s behavior and the pranks in general reflected on the sport overall?
Pretty poorly, that’s why I did a bunch of interviews. I understand that the Spike TV show has to get good ratings but I wish the more philosophical side of martial arts was more interesting to people. But I guess the pranks and not so much the technique of what we’re doing was more interesting. There was a lot of training and information to show people but obviously the producers knew what they were doing so they included the pranks and Junie’s behavior got a lot more airtime.
What fights besides your own are you looking forward to catching at UFC 92?
I think the whole main event card- just watching Quinton [Jackson] and Wanderlei [Silva] fight and the same thing with Forrest [Griffin] and Rashad [Evans]- I think those should be interesting bouts. I think the card is really stacked. It’s almost a card and a half really in all honesty.
Most fighters say their most important fight is the next one, but how do your previous wins and losses play out in your mind when training for an upcoming bout?
You could have 20 wins in a row, and if you lose your next one, you suck now, according to how the fans are. In the UFC, you are only as good as your last fight. It’s really a fight-by-fight type of career in the UFC. The fight ahead of you is always your most important one.