UFC 92: The Ultimate Turnaround
UFC 92 was full of dramatic stoppages, gutsy battles, upsets and redemption; all attributes that make for awesome fights, but what made it a truly momentous event was the impact it will have on the future. Each of the three main attractions were loaded with ramifications that will be felt well into the New Year, and one of the most shocking was Frank Mir's improbable win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Frank Mir ousting Nogueira as the interim heavyweight champion was obviously a huge upset for a variety of reasons, but what's most amazing is that not long from now, we'll be seeing Mir battle Brock Lesnar in a rematch for the unified heavyweight championship. That sounds wrong for so many reasons and it almost makes my head hurt to think about it, but at the same time, I can't wait to see it. I mean seriously, it wasn't even a year ago when Lesnar made his UFC debut (and lost!) against Mir, but he has since skyrocketed up the ladder and defeated Randy Couture, the most decorated champion in UFC history. On the other hand you have Frank Mir, who barely survived a horrific motorcycle accident only to return to the Octagon as a mere shadow of his former self. Most had all but written off Mir, saying the accident had taken its toll and there was no chance the once-gifted champion could ever be great again. Then, out of nowhere, Mir turned in the performance of his life as he completely dominated one of the all-time great fighters and achieved a feat not even the illustrious Fedor has been able to reach by knocking out Minotauro. With that, he solidified himself as a once-again dangerous man, and set up this mega fight that I am absolutely itching to watch.
At this time last year, however, a Mir/Lesnar fight was barley a draw. I mean, it was interesting for its examination of young vs. old, striker vs. grappler, etc but that was about it. It didn't seem to be a very important fight. The rematch however, will finally settle what has been a tumultuous struggle to name the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. That alone is enough to make a compelling fight, but factor in the storyline from the past and you've got the groundwork for an all out epic.
When these two men first met in February 2008, they were completely different fighters. Lesnar was an untested rookie, still learning the intricacies of a new sport, while Mir was grasping for his last breath as a fighter. The complete turnaround these guys have made over the past year is nothing but stunning; Lesnar is now a proven champion, and Mir represents a rejuvenated threat.