Frank Mir vs Josh Barnett: Why Frank Mir Is Done as a Top-Shelf Heavyweight

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Frank Mir vs Josh Barnett: Why Frank Mir Is Done as a Top-Shelf Heavyweight
Frank Mir - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Frank Mir’s best days have come and gone.

The hits keep on coming for the former heavyweight champ, who suffered his third consecutive loss at UFC 164 on Saturday night. It was a battle of former champions, and Josh Barnett was the man who walked away with his hand raised.  

Mir came out guns blazing early in the first round, but he wasn’t able to maintain enough separation to stifle Barnett’s strong clinch game. Inside the clinch, Barnett was able to work Mir over with dirty boxing and knees.

The end came at 1:56 of the first round when Barnett landed a huge knee that flattened Mir, forcing the ref to step in and call a halt to the action. Mir immediately jumped to his feet to protest the stoppage, but the writing was already on the wall for the future UFC Hall of Famer.

It truly has been a disappointing past couple of years for Mir, who has seemingly made every effort in improving his fight game. He even went as far as moving his usual training camp away from his family in Las Vegas for an opportunity to train with MMA trainer Greg Jackson and the plethora of stars in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

At 34, Mir isn’t particularly old, but there is plenty of mileage on his aging body. With over a decade of professional competition under his belt, Mir has seemingly plateaued in a sport with an ascending learning curve.

MMA fighters are better than they’ve ever been—especially heavyweights—and Mir is slowly being left behind. It would be hard imagining him defeating any top-five heavyweight at this point in his career. This doesn’t mean the UFC no longer needs his services.

Mir is still an excellent fighter capable of putting on exciting fights. It also never hurts to have his name on a pay-per-view card. It’ll be interesting to see whether he contemplates retirement or steps into more of a gatekeeper role.  

With Father Time lurking right around the corner, maybe Mir should consider hanging up the gloves.

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