The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Frank Mir

Travis AtkinsonContributor IFebruary 12, 2009

Has anybody ever told you that you can't do something, that you would never be good enough? This is the story for Frank Mir's career and life in general.  His first title fight, returning from a terrible motorcycle crash, his cardio abilities, fighting Minotauro Nogueira.  All of these things have something in common:  They were all never supposed to hapen.

Frank Mir proves to be the ultimate underdog.

Frank Mir started off his career with a decision victory over Jerome Smith. He then submitted Dan Quinn, Roberto Traven, and Pete Williams, all in spectacular fashion. He was then beat by Ian Freeman.

Next, he was taking on a veteran making his return in Tank Abbott, whom was submitted by a toe hold in 46 seconds.

At UFC 43, he faced UFC newcomer, Wes Sims, in a fight that was surrounded by a lot of confusion.

The fight started with Mir instantly taking his much bigger opponent down.  He continued to transition from mount to back-mount, then back to mount, attempting many submissions along the way. Mir attempted an armbar which was shrugged off by Wes, and instead of reigning down with punches, he came down with several illegal stomps, being disqualified in the process.

The rematch saw Mir knock out Wes in the second round. Those two victories made him the new number one contender for Tim Sylvia's heavyweight belt.

At UFC 49, the main event was billed as Kimo Leopoldo vs Ken Shamrock.  Ironically, it was the co-main event that garnered more attention.

Frank Mir and Tim Sylvia stepped into the octagon as the opening bell was ready to sound. Fifty seconds later, referee Herb Dean stopped the belt due to an armbar. Tim immediately debated the stoppage, but later needed a steel rod put in his arm.

Frank Mir was the heavyweight champ, and he was about to face the toughest test of his career, but it was not in the Octagon.

In September of 2004, Frank Mir was riding on his motorcycle when he was hit by oncoming traffic. Frank was ejected from the vehicle, shattering his leg in the process. He was never supposed to fight again. But Frank was determined to once again be the UFC heavyweight champ.

UFC 57 featured Mir's long-awaited return, facing the debuting Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz. This was meant to be an easy win for Mir, but he may have returned too soon, as Pe de Pano TKO'd him in the first round.

His next fight would be with Dan Christison, a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter's second season. Mir won via a lackluster decision.

Up next was UFC 65, where he faced undefeated, muay thai practioneer, Brandon Vera. Sixty-nine seconds later, Mir laid broken and battered as he had lost via devastating knockout. Little did he know this was the best thing to happen to his career.

That night at the hotel room, Frank stayed with his wife and contemplated retiring to become a host for the WEC. He thought he lost it all: his skill, his drive—everything. His wife called him, in so many words, a coward, a pussy, and a failure to his children.  And that was enough to re-motivate him.

He would return to fight Polish kickboxer Antoni Hardonk at UFC 74. Frank Mir was back. It took him only 87 seconds to lock on a fight ending kimura.

His next bout was former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar. Mir weathered the early storm and locked in a kneebar that would halt the fight a minute and a half in. He proved that he was back.

He was the number one contender to Antonio Minotauro Nogueria's belt. The build up would involve coaching opposite teams on The Ultimate Fighter season eight.

December 27, it was on, Mir vs Nogueira. Nogueira was the more technical striker, the better wrestler, had the better ground game, and had never been stopped in his illustrious career, but Mir didn't care. During the first round, Mir dropped Nogueira twice and Minotauro was unable to get anything going. The second round came and Mir became the first person to ever stop Nogueira as he won via TKO.

He was once again the UFC heavyweight champ. His next fight will be a rematch against Brock Lesnar.