Frank Mir wants to be part of UFC Fight Night Manila
MANILA, Philippines – Another Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar has expressed his interest to be part of the premier mixed martial arts organization’s first visit in the country on May 16.
Two-time UFC heavyweight titleholder Frank Mir told Rappler that he is willing to make the trip to the fight capital of the Southeast Asian region and compete on the UFC Fight Night 65 card that is set to take place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
“Of course, I want to fight in Manila. There are a lot of legendary boxing matches that occurred in Manila. If you’re a big boxing fan or a fan of fighting in general, you probably know about Manila,” Mir said.
However, Mir is booked to face former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the main event of UFC Fight Night 61 on February 22 (February 23 in PH).
Mir (16-9) will enter the Octagon against Silva in the midst of a four-fight losing skid, suffering setbacks in the hands of Junior dos Santos, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem.
The 35-year-old stalwart from Las Vegas, Nevada has not tasted victory since December 2011 when he forcefully submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by breaking the Brazilian legend's arm with a Kimura lock.
On the other hand, Silva (18-6-1) is looking to rebound from a first-round knockout loss to Andrei Arlovski this past September.
Like Mir, Silva aims to place himself back on the winning track as he dropped two of his last three bouts while the other resulted in a draw.
It may be do-or-die situation for both fighters as another loss would not only send them spiraling further out of the division’s rankings, but it could also put either man dangerously close to the cut line as they approach multiple defeats in a row.
“Absolutely, there’s pressure. Both of us want to turn it around. Obviously, it doesn’t go well to have many losses in a row as far as being employed in the UFC,” Mir admitted about his current position.
According to Mir, he made necessary adjustments in his training camp as he put emphasis on the boxing department by acquiring the services of Ana Julaton’s mentor Angelo Reyes.
“I am immensely more confident throwing my punches right now because before I really didn’t know what I am doing. I was just jumping around and throwing punches,” he stressed.
In addition, the 6-foot-3 heavyweight tapped grappling expert Ricky Lundell to be his head trainer.
Lundell, a second-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former NCAA Division I wrestler, has worked with the likes of Carlos Condit, Miesha Tate, Travis Browne and Julaton.
“I really want to show the improvements I made, especially working side-by-side with Angelo Reyes and Ana Julaton. Ricky Lundell has taken a stronger role as a full-blown head coach. I am so determined to win,” Mir quipped.
Mir reiterated his desire to be included in UFC Fight Night 65’s lineup and promised to be in attendance for the promotion’s first Philippine event regardless of the outcome of his marquee match-up versus Silva.
“If I can make a quick work on Bigfoot and have no injuries, it’s actually a goal of mine to be in Manila and compete. But either way, if I’m not on the card as a fighter, I will definitely be there as a spectator,” he concluded. – Rappler.com