Frank Mir offered to welcome back Josh Barnett to the UFC and he has gotten his wish. The two former UFC heavyweight kingpins will slug it out at UFC 164 in one of the more intriguing heavyweight fights of the year.
I think that the UFC has thrown Barnett an easy first fight. Dana White said awhile back that he wanted to match Barnett up with Junior Dos Santos in his first fight back. With all due respect to Frank Mir he is not nearly as dangerous of an opponent as JDS. I don’t know many people who would have picked Barnett over JDS. I don’t know many people who are not picking him over Mir.
I hate to sound like I am ragging on Mir because I am a big fan. I just think it’s time to call him what he is and that’s an aging heavyweight fighter. It has been awhile since he has come out and looked explosive against anyone. I will say this for him. I was impressed with his performance against Daniel Cormier in that he never appeared to gas out. Cormier muscled him around for three rounds but Mir was still coming. That said, Mir wasn’t able to do anything against Cormier.
Barnett on the other hand is coming in right off of an explosive performance against Nandor Gueimino on the final Strikeforce event. Barnett is 9-1 in his last ten with his only loss coming to Cormier. What may be even more impressive is that 8 of those 9 wins were decisive and only 1 went the distance. That said, none of those losing opponents were anywhere near the caliber of Mir.
I don’t know what you do against Barnett if you are Mir. You can’t stand with him and while Mir is a master on the ground, Barnett is certainly capable of handling Mir on the ground. I think if you’re Mir you just go in there and let it fly hoping to either impress the UFC enough to keep you around with a loss or connect on a lucky shot against Barnett.
The big win here will be the promos. You are talking about two of the best promo guys in the business in Barnett and Mir. I could easily see these guys talking this fight into one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights of the year. I doubt it will deliver anywhere close to what they promise but it will be fun to listen to them hype it over the next few months.
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