Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was in the boxing ring against ex-IBF champion Steve Cunningham. But he continued to see the MMA setups as they traded punches on Saturday at Triller Fight Club.
“I have the hardest thing to convert,” Mir told reporters after losing to Cunningham. “MMA, if you move your head, your feet are there. … Several times when Steve was sliding you could probably see me looking at his leg saying, “Ah, there’s a sweep. There is a chop. And I can’t throw it, so that also made it difficult.
Mir gave himself an A + for developing punching skills that he can incorporate into his next MMA fight. His rating for his specific boxing effort against a man he called “the fastest guy I’ve ever fought” was lower.
The former champion still took great advantage of his performance. He was not finished by Cunningham, nor did he leave the world of combat sports without any idea of the boxing skills he had honed in training camp with a quick knockout – aided by his 70 pounds on his opponent.
“I wanted to represent MMA by saying okay, we are also very good at boxing,” he said. “Obviously it was a big task to beat a world champion in a boxing match. But if I lost a decision in six rounds but boxed well, it was better to catch Steve in the first 30 seconds.
Mir would of course have preferred to take the lead in the fight. At the same time, he took the result as another step in his continued evolution as an MMA fighter. He compared his usual job to that of a decathlete, as Cunningham was trained in a single event. Considering Cunningham’s advantage in this event, he felt he had done relatively well.
“I went with the sprinters,” he said. “I’m not going to withdraw from my other events to make myself a sprint specialist, because let’s face it: I’ll never be the best boxer in the world. I seem to be the most complete mixed martial artist.
It was an experience, in other words, one of the most unique he had ever been part of. From the match against an ex-champion to a “movie” atmosphere as he waited patiently behind the scenes for musical acts and undercard fighters to clear the way, the event was not like a UFC fight. But it provided a lot of data for his next venture, whether it be in the BKFC he had previously signed with, another boxing match, or a return to MMA.
Check out the full interview above.