10 Sure Fire UFC Hall Of Famers

9. Frank Mir

Mir’s is one of the most inspiring stories not just in the UFC, but in all of sports. Mir was the heir apparent in the heavyweight division when he beat Tim Sylvia to win the UFC heavyweight title less than a month after turning 25. The second youngest heavyweight champion in UFC history not only beat Sylvia, but broke Sylvia’s arm in one of the the most memorable moments in UFC history.

Less than three months later, Mir was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle. The collision left Mir’s career shrouded with uncertainty as he suffered two breaks in his femur and the tearing of all of the ligaments in his knee. Due to his inability to defend the heavyweight title, Mir was stripped of the belt. It took nearly a year and half’s worth of surgery and rehab to allow Mir to return to the Octagon. Upon his return, Mir was but a shell of his former self. Mir’s lean physique had given way to a rotund figure hardly befitting a championship-level fighter. Mir went 1-2 in his first year back in action, with his lone win coming over Dan Christison in a lousy fight.

It seemed as though Mir had lost both the ability and desire to compete at the highest level of MMA. Mir spent more time as a bouncer than he did in the gym in preparations for his fights. Following his loss to Brandon Vera, Mir was at a career crossroads. In preparation for a fight against Antoni Hardonk, Mir suffered a shoulder injury. Given his post-accident performance, the setback seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of Mir’s once promising career. Instead, Mir recovered from the injury, and in the best shape since his motorcycle accident was able to submit Hardonk in the first round. “I’m Back,” announced Mir after the fight, and indeed, he was.

Mir followed up his victory over Hardonk, Mir submitted the debuting Brock Lesnar via kneebar in the first round. The high-profile victory led the UFC to put Mir as the coach opposite interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. With the Mir and Nogueira scheduled to fight each other after the conclusion of the season, nearly everyone doubted Mir’s ability to compete against one of the great heavyweights of all time. In one of the stunning upsets in MMA history, Mir not only beat Nogueira to earn the UFC interim heavyweight championship but he knocked Nogueira out for the first time in his storied career. Though it would later be revealed that Nogueira had fought after suffering a staph infection during his training camp,  the win proved not only that Mir could compete at the high level, but has led Mir to be considered a consensus top ten heavyweight ever since.

Since defeating Nogueira, Mir has gone just 1-2. However, his losses have come to Lesnar and Shane Carwin, both of which were in title fights and the former of which being the highest drawing main event in UFC history. With the rise of contenders like Carwin, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos, Mir may remain just outside of the title picture for at least the near future. However, he is atop the next tier of heavyweights and rematches with either Lesnar or Nogueira will do big business for the UFC, making Mir one of the company’s more valuable fighters.

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