The upcoming fight at UFC 169 pitting Alistair Overeem against former heavyweight champion Frank Mir has plenty on the line for both fighters because a loss could mean an exit from the promotion.
Overeem enters the fight after losing back-to-back bouts with defeats coming to Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva and Travis Browne. Meanwhile, Mir comes in off three losses in a row to Junior Dos Santos, Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett.
It’s a little too early to call this fight ‘loser leaves town’ but UFC president Dana White certainly believes it could go that way depending on how Overeem and Mir perform on Saturday night.
"I don’t know. It appears that way we’ll see," White answered Monday in Los Angeles when asked if the loser of Mir vs. Overeem will get cut. "I don’t ever like to make those calls till I see the fight, got to see the fight first. What if that fight’s a Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva fight?"
I don’t ever like to make those calls till I see the fight, got to see the fight first. What if that fight’s a Mark Hunt vs. Bigfoot Silva fight?
Given that both Mir and Overeem have an incredible finishing rate between them, the three-round bout is unlikely to go the distance.
Mir’s UFC career goes all the way back to November 2001 when he debuted with the organization at UFC 34. He’s been a top-level heavyweight for almost his entire career, but if he drops a fourth fight in a row — especially if it’s decisive — it’s hard to imagine he gets to keep his job.
Overeem appears to be in the same dire straits although his story isn’t told as well just by saying he lost two fights in a row. Overeem was controlling and beating ‘Bigfoot’ Silva up until the third round when he got knocked out, and in his fight with Travis Browne, the Dutch kickboxer was dominating the fight until one of the biggest comebacks in all of 2013 happened.
White says talking to Browne after that fight, even he was surprised he survived the onslaught from Overeem.
"That first two minutes that he throws out there, you’ve got to withstand that barrage. That fight showed everybody what Travis Browne’s got. He said ‘I’ve never been hit as hard to my body’ as when Alistair hit him. He thought he was going to die," White revealed.
Whether the UFC opts to keep Mir or not won’t factor into his long-term plans of fighting beyond this bout with Overeem. In an interview with ESPN.com, Mir said that even if he loses at UFC 169 he doesn’t plan to retire from the sport unless it becomes painfully clear that his health could be endangered if he continues.
"I kind of know no matter what it’s not going to be my last fight. I’m still younger than a lot of the guys in the division," Mir said. "There are two ways I would consider retirement. One is losing to guys who are not top-level competition. The other is if I started losing where it’s like, ‘Okay man, you were knocked out viciously and staring at the rafters.’ I won’t endanger my health."
Overeem certainly has the resume to separate Mir from consciousness, so it will be a chess match when they meet this weekend and once the dust settles, only the winner is guaranteed to get a call back from the UFC.