By Nick Meyer,

Frank Mir has been a multiple UFC champion, and he's made his latest run back to contention following a devastating motorcycle accident and subsequent injuries that would have caused many athletes to retire.

As Mir prepares to face Cain Velasquez at UFC 146 for a possible shot at the title, fans should take a step back to realize the unique skills, and a possible template for the next generation of heavyweights, that he's brought to the table.

I was never a Mir fan in the past but I've grown to like and respect him recently, especially after his stunning submission win over my MMA hero Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, during which he broke Nogueira's arm with a wicked, unexpected kimura against one of the top jiu-jitsu fighters in heavyweight history.

Nogueira didn't expect Mir to be able to deliver the kind of force, strength and leverage with the move as quickly as he did, and 'Big Nog' is a legend who's rolled with many of the top practitioners of BJJ in the history of the martial art.

Mir caught Nogueira by surprise because of his strength, and it could be a sign of things to come in the heavyweight division for those who take the lesson and apply it moving forward: Jiu-jitsu plus elite strength and leverage means lights out, even for the best of the best.

Currently, the UFC's heavyweight division is stacked with mostly power strikers like Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, who will fight for the title soon, and wrestlers like Cain Velasquez who usually begin adding striking to their skillset before they focus on submission offense.

There are a few top-shelf jiu-jitsu guys like Fabricio Werdum and Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva in the mix as well, but they don't quite have the overall game that Mir does just yet.

The success of middle-tier heavyweights in terms of weight over the years such as Fedor Emelianenko, dos Santos, and Velasquez who excel with speed and cardio also should be noted, but such a size could lend itself to being more easily submitted.

I was shocked as a fan at the speed and precision with which Mir submitted Nogueira, and how brutal it was. It all happened so fast and before the fans knew it, Nogueira went from a potential win to a trip to the hospital.

I've seen pretty much every big fight in Mir's career and I acknowledge that he still has many holes in his game; in fact I think Velasquez will likely beat him.

But make no mistake about it, Mir will go down as a legend despite the lukewarm fan support he has gotten in recent years at times, and he could go down as a pioneer as well. Once we start seeing heavyweight grapplers with the ability to rip an arm off in the blink of an eye like Mir, and heavyweights who can marry that ability with the kind of powerful striking and athleticism Mir is a bit lacking in, the division may never be the same again.

Nick Meyer is a longtime MMA fan from Metro Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @ItOffishul.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Fight Night 93 Free Fight: Watch Josh Barnett KO Frank Mir

  • 26 days ago
  • 73 views

UFC veteran Josh Barnett accomplished a new feat at UFC 164: a first-round knockout in the UFC. Barnett KO'd Frank Mir in Round 1 at UFC 164. read news >>

The Evolution of Punk, Ep 3: Hurt (CM Punk Video)

  • 23 days ago
  • 41 views

After rehabbing a shoulder injury, CM Punk is eager to get back in the gym. Once he's cleared to train, Punk learns the name of his first opponent. read news >>

The Evolution of Punk, Ep 4: Cult of Personality (CM Punk Video)

  • 17 days ago
  • 52 views

CM Punk must slow his training to recover from back surgery. Punk's opponent, Mickey Gall, comes face to face with the star at a UFC event. read news >>

Stipe Miocic's Championship Mettle Bodes Well for Battle with Cain Velasquez

  • 13 days ago
  • 7 views

Stipe Miocic’s challenge Saturday night involved multiple layers. Break out of the shadows of CM Punk’s highly publicized debut. Rise above the madness of the near-brawl following the Fabricio Werdum read news >>