Frank Mir: Heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos can't escape the fear of what might happen (Yahoo! Sports)


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(This is the second of four blogs from former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, who takes on current champ Junior dos Santos for the title at UFC 146.)

Motivation surrounds me every minute of every day. Even when I'm not training or focusing on my next fight, I still couldn't be more motivated. On my days off, I'll ride my Harley, hang out at the cigar shop with my father and a couple of friends, or simply sit outside my house and watch my kids play – all of it is inspiration and motivation to me.

As far as my opponent's motivation, I highly doubt Junior dos Santos has my picture on a dartboard and is using it to inspire him between training sessions. Yes, my win over his teacher and training partner, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, will have hurt him, but I'd imagine Junior will be far more concerned with the fact I can do something similar to him and take his UFC title. That should be all the motivation he needs. If he's smart, the “revenge” factor shouldn't even need to come into it.

[Related: Frank Mir: Change of opponents hasn't altered gameplan]

Still, maybe dos Santos knows that if we go to the ground at any point in our fight on May 26, there is a big risk of me doing to him what I did to Nogueira in December. He can't escape that fear. Nogueira is the guy who taught Junior all he knows about jiu-jitsu. If I was able to submit Nogueira, someone who has never been tapped out before, the chances of dos Santos surviving on the ground with me look pretty bleak.

Ultimately, that Nogueira result could either instill fear or knowledge in dos Santos. It may force him to become edgy and scared of going to the ground with me, or it could force him to become even more switched on and to avoid all the things Nogueira did wrong against me. It all really depends on how well-equipped dos Santos is when the fight hits the ground. As of today, none of us really know. We've never seen him go there.

Believe me, there are a lot of guys in the world who are very proficient and talented jiu-jitsu players in the gym, but are unable to apply it when it comes time to step inside the Octagon. This can be due to a number of reasons. They might not know how to apply it to a fighting situation, or they may just not feel confident using what has only been mastered on mats in the gymnasiums. Whatever the reason, there are many fighters out there who boast black belts, yet are unable to demonstrate their prowess when it really matters.

Of course, when it comes to dos Santos, this lack of ground action could be one of two things. Either he really loves boxing and, although is able to submit opponents, doesn't feel the need. Or, he desperately tries to stay standing and striking for a reason, perhaps because his ground game is in some way lacking. Because we've seen so little evidence of his ground game, none of us can really know for sure.

What I will say is this – dos Santos doesn't owe anybody anything when it comes to proving his ground game. Nobody in their right mind would go into a fight and jeopardize winning in order to make some kind of statement or prove a point. That would be absolutely ludicrous. No, dos Santos is doing what he's doing right now and it's working great for him. He punches harder and better than any other heavyweight in the world, no question, and that skill alone is winning him fights and cleaning out the division. Right now it doesn't matter whether he has a ground game or not, as nobody has forced him to use it. I can tell you right now, if I'm able to win fights purely with my Plan A, I'm not going to revert to Plan B just to show I've got one.

On May 26, it is my job to put dos Santos in situations and spots that require him to forget Plan A and prove himself elsewhere. The game plan is very simple, in fact. We know exactly what dos Santos can do, and we know he does it very well, but the unknowns in this fight give me a lot of confidence.

I am as good on the ground as dos Santos is on his feet, and if there is one guy who can truly discover the value of this guy's black belt, it's me …

Follow @thefrankmir on Twitter for all the latest news ahead of his bout at UFC 146

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