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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist
Jordan writes: Do you feel Minotauro Nogueira's loss to Frank Mir was a case of Frank evolving with the sport of MMA, but more specifically the heavyweight division, whereas Big Nog didn't?
A: I don't feel that Frank Mir's submission victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was really indicative of anything new. We knew going in that Nogueira and Mir were two of the top three submission artists in the heavyweight division. Obviously, seeing Nogueira submitted for the first time in his career was a sight to behold, but I think the submission was more the result of a tactical error on his part than a lack of evolution.
The fact is, "Big Nog" has had a long and storied career of submitting his opponents, but only recently has he been able to really hurt guys with his hands. If anything, we've seen more dimensions to his game in his last few fights than ever before. We saw the first real glimpse of Nogueira's power punching in the Randy Couture fight, and it's only continued to develop since then.
As far as Frank Mir's evolution goes, the only new trick we saw on display that night from either fighter was Frank Mir's ability to overcome adversity. Throughout his career the knock on Mir has always been that once he took damage, he'd freeze and just continue to take punishment until he fight was over. Mir's ability to compose himself in that frazzled state and out grapple Nogueira is quite the accomplishment.
Nogueira definitely had Frank Mir on the ropes in that fight and had he continue to land punches instead of diving on that choke, we might all be talking about the resurrection of "Minotauro" as opposed to the evolution of Frank Mir.
Luke writes: Do you think that Frank Mir deserves to be in consideration for a title shot with another win? In my opinion he's proved that he can beat middle of the pack guys but when he fights top tier guys he gets beaten handily. Apparently, MMA Torch Columnist Rich Hansen thinks he's still great and I disagree.
A: Frank Mir's only recent losses came at the hands of Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar, and the Lesnar fight was almost three years ago. I hardly think those losses disqualify him from title contention considering we're talking about the heavyweight division. The fact is Frank Mir is 7-2 in his last nine fights. During that stretch Mir has managed to blow several quality fighters out of the water and stopped two all-time great heavyweights. Aside from Junior dos Santos, who else in the UFC's heavyweight division has that kind of momentum going right now?
A lot of people seem to focus on the spectacular fashion in which Frank Mir tends to get finished when he loses, but it's important to remember that all heavyweights get finished that way. The fashion in which Mir was finished by Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin was no more decisive or humiliating than the way Cain Velasquez was taken out by Junior dos Santos or the way Pat Barry was blown up by Cheick Kongo.
Everyone loves the heavyweight class because the fighters wield big power and the division as a whole has a high finishing percentage. Whenever you think about writing off a quality heavyweight like Frank Mir, remember that everyone in the heavyweight division, at one point or another, winds up on the losing end of a spectacular knockout.
Lee writes: I think you guys and the media in general are listening too much to the hype... Dana White is clearly looking for another big American star to push in the U.S to fill the void left by Chuck Liddell and Jon Jones seems to be that guy. Some people believe that Jones is #2 in the world pound-for-pound and I've just read that if he beats Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson he becomes #1 pound-for-pound? Does MMA Torch believe this hype? Sure Jones is good and I believe he will be one of the best but to say that he's pound-for-pound #2 after the competition that he's faced is just ridiculous.
A: I don't really disagree with any of this. However, you should realize that Jon Jones is an incredible fighter and the fact that people are excited by what he's accomplished at this point is completely understandable.
That being said, all of the pound-for-pound love Jones is getting at this point really proves that whole ranking system to be nothing more than a popularity contest. The whole reason Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre have been locked into their pound-for-pound spots for so long is because of their staggering accomplishments and long reigning dominance at the top of their respective divisions. To just unseat one or both of them because someone else had a hot year would be ridiculous. Jon Jones may have had a good 2011, but Silva and St-Pierre have been having good years for the better part of the last decade.
You can follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi and direct your "Ask the Torch" questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
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