The legacy of a champion isn’t made by winning the belt…it’s made by defending it.
Junior Dos Santos certainly showed on Saturday night that he had no intentions of being a champion that wins the belt and never defends it as he put away former title holder Frank Mir emphatically in the 2nd round of their main event match-up at UFC 146.
Since winning the belt last November, Dos Santos has enjoyed the fruits of his victory with a lot more fame all over the world, but mostly in his home country of Brazil where he was received as a hero.
As he faced former champion Frank Mir on Saturday, Dos Santos wanted to fight for his country and also fight to prove that he was the most dominant heavyweight on the planet.
When the fight started the game plan for Frank Mir was simple – get Dos Santos to the ground and look to remove a limb. Saying it is way easier than actually doing it, and after one single leg takedown attempt, Mir never even got close to taking Dos Santos to the mat.
The Brazilian boxer kept Mir at arm’s length, but when he stepped in for a punch he put every ounce of power he had into it. Dos Santos landed a huge bomb to the body of Mir in the first and with time running out, he tagged the Las Vegas native with a big punch that left him on wobbly legs.
Dos Santos rushed in with a flurry of punches, but Mir defended well and was able to escape the round.
Resistance was futile however because Dos Santos was a man on a mission, and his mission was to knock out Frank Mir.
The second round brought more of the same from Dos Santos, who settled into his comfort zone at this point and started to land at will as Mir had little answer for his superior striking.
As Dos Santos jumped in for one final right hand, Mir dropped to the canvas and the champion followed up with a series of hammer fists as the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
“It’s not bad for a nice guy, huh?” Dos Santos shouted after winning his first title defense since capturing the belt last November.
The win was the exact kind of statement that Dos Santos wanted to make after winning the title because he wasn’t about to be a forgotten ‘one and done’ UFC heavyweight champion.
The victory wasn’t about revenge despite Mir’s two victories over his coach and friend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. It was about Junior Dos Santos being champion and holding onto a title that he cherishes dearly.
“Nogueira is a tremendous fighter, but Frank Mir is a really good fighter, too. That fight is between them, I don’t care about that. Of course I respect so much my mentor, but I come here to defend my belt and I did!” Dos Santos said with enthusiasm.
The former champion Frank Mir was graceful in defeat and paid tribute to the champion that Junior Dos Santos has become.
“He’s the champ, he’s fast, I couldn’t get out of the way, he hit me hard. Just too many of them, too many hard shots and the hard shots I was taking, and eventually they built up and I couldn’t do nothing about it,” said Mir.
“Very dangerous guy there.”
For Mir this situation may have been very bittersweet because at 33-years of age and multiple title shots, he may have to work really hard to ever get back here again. But with more than 10 years of Octagon experience under his belt, no one should count out Frank Mir.
As for Junior Dos Santos, he now celebrates as the reigning and defending heavyweight champion, as he looks to cement his place as the most dominant fighter the UFC has had in this division for many years.
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