The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Monday officially announced a heavyweight title unification bout between current champion Brock Lesnar and interim titleholder Frank Mir. The bout will take place at UFC 98 on May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
"Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir put on one of the most intense one round fights I've ever seen at UFC 81," said UFC President Dana White, referring to Mir's submission victory over Lesnar in February of 2008. "But when it was over, both guys saw things very differently. Lesnar blamed his loss on inexperience and being too aggressive, while Mir saw his win as a triumph of his technique, something he says will happen every time they fight. On May 23rd, each fighter has his chance to prove his point, and while a lot has happened for these two since that first fight, I know the rematch is going to be just as intense as the first one, especially considering that the winner walks away as the UFC Heavyweight Champion."
With a professional record of just 3-1, many have doubted Lesnar's place in the UFC championship picture. He defeated Randy Couture, however, for the title and Mir provides him the opportunity to not only avenge a loss, but solidify himself as the champion.
"I'm delighted to have a rematch against Frank Mir," said Lesnar, the 2000 NCAA Division I National Champion in wrestling. "I can't wait to get my revenge and finish this fight on the ground the way it should have been finished last time."
Despite his impressive TKO of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, against Lesnar, Mir can rid himself of the interim tag and return to being the UFC heavyweight champion.
"Brock Lesnar has been calling for a rematch with me ever since I beat him the first time," said Mir. "All I can say to Brock is be careful what you wish for because I'm a better, smarter, stronger and faster fighter than I was the last time. He won't be able to push me around like he's done smaller opponents, and I'm looking forward to becoming undisputed champion again."
Though the promotion has yet to announce any other bouts for UFC 98, former welterweight champions Matt Hughes and Matt Serra have both publicly commented on their bout at the event on May 23.
Rumored UFC 98 Card:
-Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar -Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Wilson -Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra -Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar -James Irvin vs. Drew McFedries -Andre Gusmao vs. Houston Alexander -Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley -George Roop vs. David Kaplan -Yoshiyuki Yoshida vs. Brandon Wolff -Tim Hague vs. Patrick Barry