After passing his own difficult test in the boxing world, Frank Mir wouldn’t be shocked to see Jorge Masvidal become the new UFC welterweight champion this weekend.
Mir competed in his first pro boxing bout against former, two-time world champion Steve Cunningham on the main card of this past Saturday’s Triller Fight Club event and went the distance, losing a unanimous decision in the six-round heavyweight matchup.
Having tasted UFC gold in his past, along with having one of the keen analytical minds in the sport, Mir is certainly interested in Saturday night’s UFC 261 event, which will feature three title fights headlined by the rematch between Masvidal and reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
In their first meeting in the main event of July’s UFC 261 fight card, Usman earned a unanimous decision win over “Gambred” to retain his title in a bout that took place on just six days’ notice following a positive COVID-19 test for originally scheduled title challenger Gilbert Burns.
With all the narratives heading into the first fight off the table, Mir looks at the second meeting similarly to most MMA pundits: if Masivdal can keep it standing, that will be his best path to victory—which is easier said than done.
“Usman is a monster,” Mir told MMA Fighting. “He’s phenomenal, and Masvidal is very, very tough. He’s gonna want to bring the war to him, but he’s also a very underrated grappler and he has confidence in that. The guy’s grappling is good enough where, hopefully, he’ll be able to stay off of Usman and make it a standup war—which Usman is awesome at, too. [Usman has] great stance switching and cutting different levels.”
With Masvidal taking his first world title fight on less than a week’s notice, the “BMF champion” didn’t have a lot of time to prepare as he flew across the world during a global pandemic. Of course, Usman had to change his approach as well from one opponent he knew so well, to a completely different style.
Masvidal also had to cut nearly 30 pounds in that short timeframe, which clearly had an effect as the first Fight Island main event drew on. In Mir’s eyes, having a full camp will make Masvidal a much more viable threat to Usman and he wouldn’t be surprised to see the over three to one underdog get over the world championship hump.
“I think it’s gonna be a hard fight for Masvidal but I think it will be much closer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls it off,” Mir stated.