The Fight Horizon – Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir

Columns, Previews

The Fight Horizon – Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir

The storied and controversial UFC career of Josh Barnett will reignite once again. Barnett is set to return to the Octagon this coming August, at UFC 164 where he will meet heavyweight veteran and UFC mainstay Frank Mir. Barnett was last seen fighting in Strikeforce and after much speculation, is indeed returning to fight in the UFC. Mir was the man to welcome Daniel Cormier (another Strikeforce alum) to the UFC and lost that fight in a one-sided decision. Cormier coincidentally has defeated both Mir and Barnett by unanimous decision, so it will be interesting to see how they stack up against each other.

The Matchup: Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir

Josh Barnett (32-6 overall, 3-2 in the UFC)

Strengths: Sheer size, grappling and submissions

Weaknesses: Lack of speed, wear and tear, striking

Frank Mir (16-7 overall, 14-7 in the UFC)

Strengths: Power, well-rounded, ground game

Weaknesses: Susceptible to KO’s

The Date: August 31, 2013 at UFC 164

Weight Class: Heavyweight

What led to it: Barnett expressed his desire to return to the UFC and retire in that organization, and after some back and forth Barnett finally signed a multi-fight contract. Mir expressed interest in being the guy to welcome Barnett back to the UFC, and he got his wish granted.

Why it matters:

This is a chance for Barnett to redeem himself. He left the UFC in disgrace after beating Randy Couture for the Heavyweight title, only to test positive for banned PED’s afterward. Dana White famously stated Barnett would never be welcomed back, but time heals and ten years after Barnett’s last UFC fight, he returns to the Octagon in the twilight of his career.

Barnett most likely won’t be able to compete with the elite of the UFC’s heavyweight division. That was established when Daniel Cormier ragdolled him in Strikeforce for five brutal rounds. Cormier recently gave Frank Mir the same treatment, and while MMAth is essentially useless, Barnett’s loss to Cormier already shows us a little of where he will stack up in the modern UFC. Regardless of how far up the ladder Barnett climbs, it’s an opportunity to cement his legacy; Barnett has fought in nearly every other major organization in MMA and performed relatively well. But banned substance usage has stained his career and tarnished his reputation. Fighting clean in the UFC, and more importantly winning, would do a lot to restore all of that. That starts with beating Frank Mir.

Mir is probably on the downslope of his career, he just can’t hang with the new breed of fighters and lost two consecutive fights for the first time in his career. He serves as a great litmus test for any aspiring heavyweight, but his glory days are behind him now. Mir has the skills and experience to remain relevant in the HW division, but he doesn’t have the goods to defeat someone like Junior Dos Santos or Daniel Cormier. Barnett is a great matchup for him, an older fighter who likes to tangle on the ground – something that Mir is very, very good at. Mir needs a win here to avoid falling into an 0-3 slump and a loss here could very well spell doom for his time in the UFC.

Come August 31st, we’re likely to see a very competitive and entertaining fight, with two skilled and experienced fighters looking for some redemption.

Dan is a new addition to the InsideFights team. When not teaching at the local college during his day job, he likes to ride his fixed gear bicycle around town. Given the choice, he'd rather bike than drive any day (ride on!). He also enjoys trying new craft beers and vegetarian/vegan foods, playing guitar, writing fiction and of course, catching up on all things MMA. Dan currently lives in Los Angeles with his awesome wife.