Is Frank Mir Yet Again Falling Short of His Potential?

Patrick HallContributor ISeptember 28, 2010

Will Frank Mir ever crack the Top 5 again?
Will Frank Mir ever crack the Top 5 again?Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Frank Mir has long been an enigma of the MMA world.  One minute Mir is breaking Tim Sylvia's arm for the UFC title, the next he is getting knocked out by Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz.  Mir retooled, and rededicated himself to MMA returning with a vengeance.  His defeat of Brock Lesnar showed that heart and technique can overcome strength and brute force. 

Yet Mir came up very short in his rematch with Lesnar and yet again two fights later when he was crushed by Shane Carwin.  To say Frank Mir's career has been a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. 

Mir has shown flashes which make fans think he could be a top three Heavyweight, those flashes have been kept in check by unexplainable, poor performances that make Mir seem like he doesn't belong in the top 10.  So which is the real Frank Mir?

Frank Mir's strength has always been his technique, his jiu jitsu skill is among the best the Heavyweight division has ever seen.  Mir has coupled that exceptional ground skill with an improved stand up game. 

Mir has worked very hard in recent years to improve his boxing and muay thai, these skills were put on full display in his win against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo, and his recent win over former K-1 Kickboxer Mirko Cro Cop.  Technique has treated Frank very well, earning him his first UFC title with a beautiful armbar on Tim Sylvia. 

Technique also was the key in Mir's most famous win, a kneebar victory over now UFC Champion Brock Lesnar.  Mir's technique is what has kept him consistently in the top 10 of the Heavyweight rankings.

Top 10 is about as far as Frank Mir will go in the current UFC Heavyweight division.  Mir has made noticeable changes to his diet and weight training which has led to his recent gain of muscle mass.  These changes were brought on by the recent trend of bigger, stronger athletes in the heavyweight division, guys who have to cut weight in order to make the UFC's 265 lbs. weight limit. 

These changes have come a little too late for Mir.  The jiu jitsu prowess that Frank Mir possesses is unmatched by these new "Super" Heavyweights, however he is for the most part unable to use it effectively thanks to the strong wrestling base that these athletes possess.

Due to the fact that Mir is forced to use his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills from the bottom it is easier for these new breed Heavyweight nullify submission and sweep attempts by using their size, strength, and base.

Mir has never taken the time to become a good wrestler, to use takedowns in his favor or prevent himself from being taken down.  His reliance on his jiu jitsu has left him in Limbo in terms of the Heavyweight rankings.  Mir has the skills and technique to continually make the top 10, however he will struggle making into the top 5 against these bigger, stronger heavyweights.