Can Big Nog Avenge His UFC 92 Loss To Frank Mir?


If you were a die-hard Pride fanatic, then UFC 92 in December of 2008 was a night you probably want to forget.

You know the old saying “Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes it gets you.”? Well, if you were an MMA fan who always pulled for “the good guy”, UFC 92 was a night where the bear got you, chewed you up, swallowed you, and left you as little raisin-sized droppings in the woods.

Watching Pride mainstay and MMA hero Wanderlei Silva get stretched in the trilogy fight with a “post-Red Bull binge rampage” Rampage Jackson was tough. Watching the original TUF winner and everyman champ Forrest Griffin drop his title to the juke-jivin’, trash talking Rashad Evans stung even more, I’m sure.

But to the hardcore fan, the dyed-in-the-wool Japanophile, nothing was worse than seeing the fall of “Minotauro”.

Coming into his UFC 92 match with Frank Mir, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was riding a three fight win streak, had just come off a successful season as coach of “The Ultimate Fighter”, and was the reigning UFC Interim Heavyweight champion. There were even those who had him in the conversation for “Greatest Heavyweight of All Time”. For Big Nog, everything was coming up Millhouse, to use a “Simpsons” reference.

And Frank Mir? He was coming off a win over some guy named Brock, but aside from that he looked just about spent as an elite level fighter. Memories of his domination at the hands of LHW Brandon Vera were still fresh in fans minds.

And besides, what advantage did Mir hold on paper? Boxing? Not against Nogueira’s legendary chin. BJJ? Against the best Jiu-Jitsu player in the division? I think not.

Then the fight went down and every prediction and prognostication of fans and media alike fell apart. Looking light on his feet, Mir danced around popping off shots while a sluggish and out of shape Nog followed Mir around, blocking punches with his face. When Mir dropped Nogueira, fans were stunned. When he dropped him again – still only in the first round – they were flabbergasted.

Still, fans held out hope. This was “Minotauro” after all. This was a man who built his legend on taking a savage beating only to come back, time after time, with a miracle submission. Coming into the second round, there was still hope that this was just Nog being Nog.

Frank Mir crushed those dreams and the second frame played out just like the first. Mir lands, Nog plods forward, Mir slips punches and lands again, wash rinse and repeat. When Nogueira fell to the canvas in this round, he didn’t get back up. Mir swarmed him with punches, and just like that, a spent, over the hill Heavyweight with questionable striking had handed Nogueira his first ever stoppage loss.

That win single-handedly re-launched Frank Mir’s career as an elite level Heavyweight. It also cast the dreaded title of “over the hill” onto Nogueira for the first time, something he has tried to shake off ever since.

Of course, the controversy did not end with the fight itself. Afterwards, we learned that Nogueira was battling a serious staph infection, which may have affected his performance during the fight. Longtime fans immediately flocked to this excuse reason why Mir so easily handled Nog that night.

Of course, this explanation has PO’ed Frank Mir to no end, as it discredits one of the biggest wins of his career. And hey, I can’t exactly say I blame him.

Do I buy the staph infection excuse? I don’t know. I’m not Big Nog, after all, and thus I have no way of really knowing how sick he was while training for the Mir fight. I do know he is widely regarded as one of the most honorable men in the sport, loathe to simply spout off at the mouth following a loss. I also know he is the type of fighter who –for good or ill – will fight injured rather than disappoint the fans.

Yet, finally, I also know that just before the fight, the referee turned to Nog, asked him “are you ready?” and that he answered in the affirmative. All post-fight excuses making pretty much goes out the window at that point.

So now we’re faced with the rematch both fans and fighters have long been waiting for. At UFC 140 in Toronto, these two men will settle the score once and for all. Though their last fight was for a title, as far as their respective careers go this may be the most important fight.

Both guys are coming off impressive wins. Both guys want badly to be back “in the mix” at Heavyweight.  Both guys know a win will send them there while a loss could derail their title aspirations forever.

Can Big Nog avenge the biggest loss of his career? I have no idea – but I can’t wait to find out.


2 Responses to “ Can Big Nog Avenge His UFC 92 Loss To Frank Mir? ”

  1. BigBoi says:

    While there is no doubt the writer has an ability to turn a phrase I don’t really agree with the review of the Nog vs Mir fight. You could almost hear an “Oh F**k” from the room I was in watching the fight as Nog took his first steps in the cage that night. He looked like he was auditioning for Karloff’s part in a remake of Frankenstein.

    This is what has made the reimergance of Nog so compelling for both new and old fans. Old fans get to now return to telling stories of Pride and the performances of Page and Shogun are helping with this. New fans got to see what was effectively a Viking Burial but one in which when the villagers came out in the morning the body wasn’t there.

    Here’s the thing. Mir only has one significant advantage on Nog in this fight and that is youth. Nog boxes better and is lightyears better on the ground. They’re about equal in wrestling. Mir’s best chance is to draw Nog into a faster paced fight than Nog likes to fight at. The problem with that is Nog seemed to have learnt this lesson in his loss to Cain and when Schaub turned things up on him he just settled and boxed.

    My prediction? Nog will submit Frank on the ground in the second.

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  2. Bigtoe says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one, I think Mir’s ground game is par with Nog. When was the last time we saw Nog’s ground game? I’m not saying it’s not there, but Mir is no slouch in the BJJ side of things. They are similar in age but I think Mir is stronger, bigger and faster and that will be the deciding factor.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Mir fan and I would love to see Nog for the win. Nog had a big win against a stronger, bigger and faster Shaub but Shaub is not on the same level as Mir.

    There seems to be a lot of people bashing this card on other boards but I for one am very excited for most the fights on this card!

    My prediction – Mir by TKO in Rnd 1

    Other predictions:

    Tito – Decision
    Rory – TKO
    Claude Patrick – Decision
    Hominick – Decision
    Lentz – Decision
    Makdessi – KO
    Soszynski – TKO

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