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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Frank Mir wasn't officially set for a five round fight at UFC 146 until late last month, when he was moved up into the main event title fight against Junior dos Santos on the card, but the former Champion was already training like he was in a five round fight.
In an interview with MMAJunkie.com this week, Mir revealed that his originally scheduled bout with Cain Velasquez necessitated a focus on cardio, and he was prepping for five rounds from the time the bout was announced.
"The reason why this wasn't as hard on me as some people might have thought is because leading up to the fight I was already training for a five-round fight," Mir said. "You want to talk about a stress, he's got hands, kicks – the thing I think would make anyone nervous [when] you know you have to fight Cain is that, well, you know he never gets tired, right? You can hit him, throw him, do whatever you want to him, and the guy's still motoring forward."
"You're never going to be able to beat Velasquez with cardio, but at least you can cut that gap to where it's head and shoulders above you."
But it wasn't just preparation for Velasquez that had Mir wanting to be prepared. With the rash of injuries the UFC has seen hit their main events, Mir wanted to be ready in case the opportunity to step into the title fight arose.
"I would hate for it to be a week or two before the fight and someone breaks a hand or twists an ankle," Mir said. "And now it's like, 'Who's going to replace the title fight and step up,' and being a situation where I felt like ... I'm not prepared enough to add those extra rounds."
Penick's Analysis: Smart prep on Mir's part for the event. He's not wrong about Velasquez's cardio, and in a three round fight more often than not Velasquez would be the superior fighter late in the bout. By being prepared for rounds later than that, Mir would have been able to go as hard as possible for the three round bout. Now, he'll get his chance against Junior dos Santos, and if the fight goes late he may just be prepared to keep moving for the entire fight.
[Frank Mir art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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