Many stand in Mir's way for title shot

Many stand in Mir's way for title shot

Published May. 29, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Certainly Frank Mir’s lopsided beating of Roy Nelson on Saturday night at UFC 130 did something to clear up the heavyweight title picture, right?

If nothing else, it likely ended any hope Nelson had of receiving a title shot.

He not only was shut out for the second time in a row, but his “I can look and fight like an overweight barroom brawler” gimmick was exposed. Nelson is probably one fight from getting his walking papers; his effort Saturday night gave credence to UFC president Dana White’s reluctance to bring him into the company in the first place.

As for Mir, he earned his right at a title shot — if one ever opens.


We know that Cain Velasquez, current heavyweight champ, is scheduled to return from shoulder surgery this fall.

There is speculation he plans to defend his title at the Oct. 6 show in Houston, more than likely against the winner of the UFC 131 main event between Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos. The winner of that bout, scheduled for June 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia, could be in line for a meeting with popular Brock Lesnar when he returns. And that result could lead to a fight with the winner of the Strikeforce Grand Prix.

Then factor in up-and-coming stars such as Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub, and Mir might be out in the cold.

In Mir’s favor is the fact he’s an MMA star, and other MMA stars tend to get injured.

So let’s say the winner of the Carwin-Dos Santos matchup were to end up with a medical suspension. That could allow Mir to step in to face Velasquez in Houston.

Mir also could get an opportunity at a later date because, as much hate as there is out there for him, he’s still a marketable commodity whose presence tends to sell pay-per-view events.

Of course, there’s the issue of Lesnar and his recent setback with diverticulitis. White was all too happy to proclaim during Saturday’s broadcast that Lesnar is ready for an early 2012 return, but is that wishful thinking?

As much as everyone would love Lesnar back, considering his layoff, would it be wise to move him directly into a title shot?

The prevailing attitude is that Lesnar has done so much to build the sport that the least they could do is award him a shot at the gold, whether he’s deserving or not.

But no true MMA fan would complain about a Velasquez-Alistair Overeem matchup instead of Velasquez-Lesnar II.

Perhaps, given the current uncertainty about the health of the heavyweights, the UFC’s overall health would be better served if up-and-comers — or even Frank Mir — were given an opportunity to show what they’ve got.