It came as no surprise to me when the UFC announced that former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir would take on former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in what I guess will be the co-main event of UFC 167.
When Zuffa bought and absorbed Strikeforce’s heavyweight division into the UFC, I knew that Mir and “The Demolition Man” would eventually cross paths inside of the octagon; however I assumed that they would meet each other in a top contender’s bout. This is not the case.
Both fighters have stated that they want to become champion; however both men have been on a bit of a slump. Overeem has lost his last two bouts. Mir currently rides a three-fight losing streak. The man who loses this fight, which takes place Nov. 16, may lose their spot on the UFC roster.
If Mir loses this fight, I do not think he will have to worry about being cut from the roster, as he has spent most of his career in the UFC. His two heavyweight title reigns and his highlight-reel victories over Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Tim Sylvia have earned him a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame. Still, if he does lose to Overeem, Dana White may have a sit-down with Mir to talk about retirement.
As for Overeem, he may be cut from the UFC roster if Mir defeats him. Other than his victory over Lesnar, the Demolition Man has not exactly lived up to his hype. If Mir beats him in impressive fashion, Overeem may get the same treatment as his former Golden Glory partners did after he signed his first UFC contract.
Looking at this fight on paper, it is the classic striker vs. grappler match up. Besides Fabricio Werdum, Mir has the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the heavyweight division. If can get Overeem on the ground, he could easily catch him in a submission, but as fans saw in his rematch against Werdum in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2011, Overeem is not a guy who will not easily be baited into another man’s guard.
In the striking department, Overeem has the advantage. While Mir’s striking has improved over the years, Overeem’s power and technique have earned him wins, not only in MMA, but also in kickboxing. Still, Mir has been able to land devastating shots in the past. If he can land a good hit, it could be over.
Both Mir and Overeem have been long-time staples in MMA and if this fight is the last for one, or even both of them, it would be a bittersweet way to lead into the main event of UFC’s 20th anniversary show.
Who do you think will win between Mir and Overeem? Answer with a comment below, send a tweet to @alstover or email [email protected]