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Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar talk respect for opponents

UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and interim champion Frank Mir differ in whether a fighter should have respect for an opponent.

Mir, who at times is criticized for overconfidence, said Thursday during the final UFC 101 press conference that he always trains with a healthy respect for his opponent.

"When you lack respect for an opponent, when you take them maybe too casually," Mir said. "I've had errors in my career through overconfidence, through thinking I had nothing to worry about, or you make a mistake and you get caught, especially in a sport like ours where one mistake and you tap, the fight's over with."

There is a point of too much respect as displayed by Georges St-Pierre in his first encounter with Matt Hughes. St-Pierre said at the time he was just "happy to be in the Octagon with him" and the result was a first career loss. St-Pierre won the next two fights and while he continued to hold respect for Hughes, he saw Hughes as an opponent rather than someone he idolized.

Lesnar would take it further. The former pro wrestler flat-out said there is no respect for anyone stepping inside the Octagon against him.

"I don't have any respect for my opponents," Lesnar said. "I guess as soon you respect somebody in my opinion, you're that much close to getting beat. That's just my philosophy that I've trained by for many years."

Lesnar's mental approach to not respect his opponent dates back to his days as an amateur wrestling. A two-time NCAA All-American and the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion, Lesnar finished his collegiate career with a record of 106-5. Maybe his record would be even closer to perfection had he not respected his opponent.

"In the past when I was approaching a tough match or something and I did respect the kid or had some respect for my opponent, I didn't wrestle the way I wanted to and I may have gotten beaten," Lesnar said. "So I discovered very early that I can't have any [respect]."