Victor Decolongon, Getty Images
The buildup to the UFC 146 main event figured to be a one-sided hype affair. After all, former champion Frank Mir is one of the game's most quotable fighters, and current kingpin Junior dos Santos is reserved and respectful in public.
But with nine days left until their heavyweight showdown, it's clear a comment made by the champion has struck a nerve with the challenger.
In an interview with MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Monday, Dos Santos questioned Mir's heart when the going gets tough in the Octagon. "In his fights, when he's in a bad situation, it's easy for him to give up," the champ said.
When Mir was asked about those comments at Thursday's UFC 146 media teleconference, he attempted to dismiss them out of hand.
"Junior dos Santos has done better in the Octagon than he has at trying to sell his fights," said Mir. "It's something he's new at.
"No one likes to hear anything negative said about them, but I just broke down why he said what he said when he backed it up on certain fights and I looked at it. I have no issues with my matches so I just took it as him trying to sell the fight, trying to stir the pot."
To which the normally mild-mannered dos Santos may as well have said, "I meant every word I said, buddy."
"I don't promote fights by talking trash," said dos Santos. "What I say, I say because I believe it. I confirm and I stand by what I said and what I meant by that remark is that I feel Frank Mir lacks heart and lacks the ability to get through tough spots in a fight."
"I don't say things just to sell the fight. If I said it, it's because that's what I believe."
Mir continued stirring the pot later in the press conference. He noted that after he defeated dos Santos' campmate, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, in December, he received his far share of less-than-polite email from Big Nog's Brazilian fans.
"After the Nog fight I got my share of emails that I had to run through Google translator, and they weren't that nice," Mir said.
With more than a week left before the main event, Mir's Brazilian emails aren't likely to get a whole nicer.
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