Mir entered on an ugly three-fight losing streak, including brutal knockout losses to Junior dos Santos and Josh Barnett. While he had been the division's top contender not long ago, fans have seen far too many fighters go from beast to burden seemingly overnight. It was hard not to worry he was in the same sort of rut that Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell entered toward the end of their careers.
Overeem, meanwhile, dropped two fights in a row after seemingly having them in the bag. Given his lengthy career in both MMA and kickboxing that is peppered from start to finish with knockout losses, it was easy to suspect that his chin, quite frankly, might just be gone.
When the two faced off, a highly measured Overeem wore down Mir, handily taking a unanimous 30-27 decision. So what did we learn?
A Measured Alistair Overeem Is a Good Alistair Overeem
Overeem rocked Mir early but didn't go wild. He chose his strikes, landed most of them and took a clear-cut unanimous decision.
Was it the most exciting win of his career? No. Did he really need an exciting win? Definitely not.
"The Reem" has his name back in the conversation at the top of the heavyweight division, and that's all he needed out of this fight. If he can win another, he is once again back in the title picture.
Frank Mir Is Still Darn Good
Lots of people were saying stuff like this:
Overeem definitely could have finished that. Didn't seem like he wanted to.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) February 2, 2014
Is it true? Possibly. I disagree, though.
The fact is that Mir did an excellent job of tangling Overeem up. He got busted up for three rounds in a pretty bad way. His face looked like ground beef afterward.
He lost, but not too many could survive even close to that long with Overeem perched atop them.
Mir Still Has a Bit of a Chin
I'm not going to say that Mir has as good a chin as ever, but remember when Liddell was knocked out for a few minutes by a glancing left to the forehead by Rich Franklin? We're not there yet.
Mir ate some hard punches from Overeem, and while he was certainly on some very wobbly legs, he isn't to the point where he was like the driver of the Pope Mobile in that one episode of Family Guy.
That's a good sign. Whether or not that translates to him keeping his job with the UFC, though, is anybody's guess.
Overeem Is Smart with His Call-outs
Now, I know that nobody is really clamoring for Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem 2. We saw that fight not all that long ago, and it didn't go so well for Lesnar.
But hey, we all know that the biggest possible fight the UFC could make right now would either be Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre or Lesnar vs. somebody. Overeem wants to be that somebody, and that's a good call.
It probably won't happen. Once again, we've seen Lesnar vs. Overeem already, and other fights are better for the current pro wrestler's MMA longevity. Still, Lesnar is the biggest fight for Overeem, so good on him for making a play for it.