The first thing some people said after Mark Hunt knocked Frank Mir out was that it was an early stoppage. The second thing said by some onlookers was that Mir should probably retire.
Mir, the former UFC heavyweight champion, doesn't really agree with either one of those things.
Foremost, Mir thought referee Marc Goddard did a good job stopping the fight when he did at UFC Fight Night 85 last weekend in Brisbane, Australia, Mir said on his Phone Booth Fighting podcast this week. Hunt landed a big right hand to Mir's ear and Mir dropped to his back in the second round. He was not unconscious, but he didn't have his druthers, either.
"Yes, it was a good stoppage," Mir said. "My lights were on, but I had no bearings on where anything was coming from. So the effectiveness of me being able to defend myself was very low at that point."
Mir said his equilibrium was totally affected by Hunt's punch and he wasn't even sure where Hunt was. The first person he was able to locate was Goddard running over to see if Mir was capable of continuing. Goddard ruled that he was not. Hunt never even attempted a follow-up shot, instead just walking away.
"It shows you show disorientated I was by the shot — the guy fully dressed was the one who caught my attention," Mir said. … "It could have been bad [if the fight continued]. I see the reason for stopping it. At that point, intelligently defending myself, it would have been a scramble to find out where Mark was coming from."
The location of the punch certainly made a difference, but Mir did not no-sell Hunt's power. It's very legit, he said.
"By far the hardest punch I've ever received in my career," Mir said. "Immediately, I felt like I was under water. The lights were on, but for a good 10 to 15 seconds the room spun."
On the post-fight show, FOX Sports analyst Brian Stann, a former UFC fighter himself, said that Mir had nothing left to prove in MMA and is already proven as an excellent color commentator and broadcaster. Stann intimated that it wouldn't be the worst idea for Mir to retire and that was a point echoed by many pundits.
Mir (18-11), though, has had no thoughts about hanging the gloves up, he said on the podcast. The 36-year-old has lost two straight, but the defeat against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 191 in September was a questionable split decision. And before that, the Las Vegas resident won two straight via first-round knockout.
"I fought Mark Hunt and I got caught with a shot that he threw," Mir said. "That's kind of like getting caught by a submission by me. It's kind of a list of guys. Had he pulled guard and armbarred me, maybe I would have thought about retiring."
Mir is still significantly younger than Hunt, who is 42 years old. And the top of the heavyweight division is filled with those older than 35. Mir has been in the UFC since 2001.
"It happens," Mir said. "I got caught. It's nothing against him. He did a great job. I made a mistake and he's really good at it. The margin for error with Mark Hunt is a lot smaller than it is with some of the other heavyweights where you can get caught with a shot and maybe recover."
Mir has accomplished plenty in his career. In addition to the heavyweight title, he owns wins over the likes of Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and Roy Nelson. Mir has been one of the top 10 or so best heavyweights in the world for more than a decade.
Stann was correct in saying he has nothing to prove, but Mir said that's not why he competes in MMA in the first place.
"I didn't have anything to prove to begin with to anybody else," Mir said. "I didn't start out doing this because I wanted to win awards or titles. I like martial arts, I like training, I like the lifestyle. I want to constantly get better. Why not just keep fighting? Until I get told that I can't anymore, then I'll move on."