May 05, 2009

Frank Mir is not bothered much by Brock Lesnar's trash talk. The UFC heavyweight champion is just a garden variety bully, Mir says.

"It's like when you go to school and you're not comfortable with yourself, you tend to pick on other people to take the attention away from yourself," the interim UFC heavyweight champion told

Lesnar challenged the validity of Mir's belt, and the rescheduling of their second bout from UFC 98 to UFC 100 in an interview with Inside MMA.

"In my mind, is it, 'Is Frank really hurt, or is he scared?'" Lesnar told Ron Kruck.

In pro-wrestling terms, the criticism was minor, and dull in its delivery. But Lesnar doesn't do a lot of interviews these days, so the comments made a lot more noise.

"The only time it could ever be upsetting is when I know I'll never get my hands on that person," said Mir. "But in a situation like this, where I know that on July 11, we get to step into the Octagon together, I can't take things too harshly."

To be fair, Mir fired the first shot in the war of words, telling Lesnar, "you have my belt, be careful what you wish for," in the heat of his post-UFC 92 victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, which brought him the interim belt.

He fired back, as well, after the interview, invoking his 91-second tapout of Lesnar at UFC 81 and the slanted expectations the now-champion draws. But he says most of the time, the talk is like a suit he wears uncomfortably. It's a part of the job, but he doesn't necessary like it.

"There are some days I try, and there are other days that I don't give a (expletive) about any of that, I could care less about answering my phone, and I don't want to do interviews. Screw everybody, I just want to fight," he continued. "But I know that that's not productive and I'll switch back in. Usually my wife will step in, bring me back to reality, and explain to me that if I'm going to get punched in the face, I might as well make as much money for my family as I possibly can in the midst of it."

He's more introspective than brash one sunny afternoon at Striking Unlimited in Las Vegas. The best he can muster is to reiterate he and Brock are cut from a different cloth.

"I'm a martial artist; he's a professional fighter," said Mir. "He fights because he gets paid to fight. If the UFC were to go bankrupt tomorrow, a month later I would still be in some small organization fighting. Not because I need to; my house is paid off, my cars are paid; I don't need the money as far as desperately.

"I fight because I enjoy fighting. I enjoy the preparation and the training and the mindset, everything that goes behind it. I don't know if we can say the same about Lesnar. If Lesnar was making $10,000, would he show up to fight?"

Mir says he can't fault Lesnar for taking shots at him. He takes his own, and like Lesnar's they're often sideways.

"At this point, I think he's going to do whatever causes a distraction from his qualifications," he said. "I think that a lot of people realize that he was only 1-1, he had a .500 record in the UFC when he got a title shot. So I think the more that he can scream about my belt, people maybe don't look at his."

Some moments, the suit is easier to put on.

It's been an unusual course of events that have brought the two together for a second time, but Mir is ready to put words aside when they meet at UFC 100.

"I know at the end I'm going to be able to get a hold of him. There's going to be a day of reckoning. So he'll have to answer to me personally. There's going to be no reporters or nobody to protect him."

He says the outcome of the fight will determine whether any bad blood lives. And as parting consideration, he offers an olive branch, sideways, to Lesnar.

"Three or four years from now, if I decide to switch over into full-time coaching, I would like to coach Brock," said Mir. "I see a lot of things that he's done in his last couple of fights that I think are mistakes that are not really his fault, they're maybe his trainer's faults. How can he be so talented, an NCAA champion, probably one of the best wrestlers to come out of college in the heavyweight division, and still make some of the real basic balancing and footwork mistakes that he's making right now?"

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