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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2389 with Frank Mir and Richard Hunter

  • a day ago
  • 1 views

Stream or download Tuesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Frank Mir and Richard Hunter.Filed under: News, Radio, UFC read news >>

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET): Former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir (in studio)

  • 2 days ago
  • 4 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guest Frank Mir.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Frank Mir on wanting release from UFC contract: 'I want to be able to compete in other things'

  • 11 hours ago
  • 11 views

Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir has been a UFC fighter for over 15 years, but that might not be the case for much longer.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos read news >>

Listen to UFC 209 media call with Woodley, Thompson, Ferguson, Nurmagomedov at 5 p.m. ET

  • 11 hours ago
  • 3 views

Listen to the headliners and co-headliners of UFC 209 as Tyron Woodley, Stephen Thompson, Tony Ferguson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov address the media on a conference call.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Listen in on the UFC 209: Woodley vs. Thompson 2 Media Call at 5 PM ET | MMAWeekly.com

  • 10 hours ago
  • 1 views

In advance of the two highly anticipated UFC 209 title fights, UFC hosts a media conference call on Thursday at 5 pm ET with the main and co-main event stars. read news >>

With Todd Duffee out, Mark Godbeer meets newcomer Daniel Spitz at UFC 209

  • 10 hours ago
  • 1 views

With Todd Duffee forced out of a planned UFC appearance, Mark Godbeer now as a new foe.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC 209 Card Finalized with Heavyweight Replacement and Two New Bouts | MMAWeekly.com

  • 10 hours ago
  • 45 views

The UFC 209 fight card was finalized on Thursday when the promotion confirmed one replacement fighter and added two new bouts to the event. read news >>

Surging UFC heavyweight Derrick Lewis explains why he wants hard-hitting Mark Hunt next

  • 10 hours ago
  • 6 views

For the next three months, Derrick Lewis is treating the UFC like his “side chick.” But when he starts taking phone calls from the promotion, he hopes to hear Mark Hunt will be his next opponent. Fil read news >>

'The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America' vets Enrique Barzola and Gabriel Benitez meet at UFC 211 in Dallas

  • 9 hours ago
  • 1 views

A pair of former contestants on “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America,” including one season winner, will meet at UFC 211 in Dallas.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson Erupt into Epic Trash Talk (UFC 209 Media Call) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 9 hours ago
  • 32 views

The main event and co-main event fighters of UFC 209 fielded questions from the media on Thursday surrounding their March 4 title fights. read news >>