When asked what the strategy for UFC heavyweight Frank Mir’s upcoming heavyweight bout with former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier will be, Mir’s trainer Greg Jackson said it simply: Stay moving.
Moving -- both in and out of the cage -- best describes Mir’s approach to his April 20 bout with Cormier in San Jose’s HP Pavilion as the co-main event of the UFC on Fox 7.
The 33-year-old former UFC World Heavyweight champion who lost his last fight to Junior Dos Santos last May has been on the move a lot lately, and not just when Jackson instructs him to lug around a 70-pound heavy bag to build his endurance.
Mir’s moves begin late Sunday evenings when he temporarily relocates from his family’s home in Las Vegas to his training home -- Jackson/Winkeljohn Gym in Albuquerque -- and ends on Fridays, when he packs up and heads home again. The Cormier camp marks the first time Mir, a Las Vegas native, has left his training home led by longtime trainer Jimmy Gifford. Gifford will remain in Mir’s corner for the UFC on FOX 7 fight.
“There’s a real high level of competition here at [Jackson's] all times,” says Mir (16-6) and currently ranked sixth among heavyweights. “When I’m having an off moment or when I make a mistake, [Jackson’s] isn’t like other gyms where I can kinda go through the motions and still succeed and be victorious. Here, if I’m not at 100 percent, I go home with a lot of bumps and bruises.”
While the team might be fine tuning Mir’s ability to dodge a punch, Mir’s not one to elude any of Cormier’s verbal jabs. Mir says Cormier -- the third ranked heavyweight -- finds himself in a no-lose situation: If he beats Mir, he immediately launches through the rankings and leapfrogs other contenders for a title shot by citing Mir’s storied past. If Cormier loses, he can explain away the loss by, yet again, citing Mir’s storied past.
Mir prefers not to think so much about the latter possibility.
“Anyone at heavyweight would hope for a knockout,” Mir says. “As far as submissions go, if he makes a mistake, I’ll take one of his limbs home.”
His ability to do that, of course, depends on his willingness to keep moving -- both his feet and his home -- so that he could make what could be the biggest move of all: up the UFC heavyweight rankings once again.
-- Melissa Segura