Ever since Frank Mir pulled an epic upset at UFC 92 and dealt Big Nog his first TKO loss, the question has hung in the air like a lingering fart: was it more because Mir was “back” or because Nog was half-dead with a staph infection? We’ll soon find out. Nog tried to call dibs on the UFC’s invasion of his old Japanese stomping grounds (cue trumpets/bamboo flutes/tentacle rapes) in February, but will instead get his chance for revenge upon Frank Mir at UFC 140 on December 10th in Toronto. You may recall that this rematch was originally set for UFC 119 last September, but Nog pulled out to get his knees and hips repaired, and was replaced by Mirko Cro-Cop.
It’ll be three years to the month since their first meeting, and beatdowns at the giant fists of Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar aside, Mir’s looked fairly solid since then… a quick smashing of Cup-Cheick Congo and dominant but unexciting wins over Cro Cop and Fatty Nelson have shown that he’s got his mojo working pretty good.
Meanwhile, Nogueira decisioned a blown-up Handy Couture and then suffered a string of infections/injuries/surgeries with another KO loss thrown in for good measure. His triumphant return from an 18-month hiatus to score a first-round knockout of a young whipper-snapper has his nut-huggers shouting “NOG’S BACK!”, but let’s be real… he’s maybe not right on the edge of retirement anymore, but he’s still within spitting distance of it. He’s vying with Shogun for the “most surgeries” award, and probably makes the “6 Million Dollar Man” sound when he runs now. Call me a Doubting Thomas, but I’m waiting to see how he does in his next fight, and a rematch with Mir should serve as a fine measuring stick. It’s also good timing for both guys, since Nog needs to strike while his iron’s hot, and it’s not like Mir has anything else on his calendar right now anyway.
And so we will muse until December 10th: Could/can Mir beat a healthy Nogueria? Does a “healthy” Nog even exist for more than brief periods anymore, or is his body just collapsing like Michael Jackson’s nose? Can he stay in one piece until then, or will he end up getting another surgical repair (hopefully with Adamantium this time)? Has Nog also learned Master Seagal’s Amazing Front Kick™ like his teammates? Or will Mir confirm the first win, and will he radiate enough doucheyness in the run-up to this fight to make me once again wonder why I like him? What’s with the 20 questions? What am I, Mr. Owl? Christ.