I have wanted to see a Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir fight since UFC 36 back in March of 2002. In the main event, Barnett defeated Randy Couture to become the youngest heavyweight champion in UFC history. Meanwhile, on the preliminary card, Mir submitted Pete Williams with a vicious shoulder lock at 0:46 in the first round, and thus a new star was born! Eleven years, five months, and 10 days later (that’s right, I counted…I told you I was excited!), it will happen at UFC 164 on August 31st, which is my birthday!
Shortly after the events described above, Barnett left the company since he tested positive for steroids and was stripped of the title. For a while, the match-up was often brought up in interviews. Mir was kind of muted on the subject since he fought in the UFC, while Barnett fought in PRIDE, and inter-promotional matches were a pipe dream at best. UFC bought PRIDE, and Barnett chose Japan, Affliction, and Strikeforce over the Zuffa brand.
I remember a Puroresu Power interview in 2005 where Barnett said that “I look at Frank Mir, and I just can’t help but want to punch him right in the face” and even offered him some career advice and suggested that Mir should stop trying to get people to like him and walk out to the cage doing a Ravishing Rick Rude gimmick including rhinestone robe and hip-swinging gyrations.
I’m going to wait until fight week to break it all down, but I can barely contain my excitement over this bout. Two of the best grapplers in heavyweight Mixed Martial Arts will finally lock horns. Let’s hope that neither one of them gets injured leading up to the bout. Now, if you excuse me, I have to knock on some wood.