The submission artist used big strikes in his most recent outings, against Duffee and before that against Antonio Silva, to spark a career resurgence. Whether or not he should consider these last two wins a crescendo and grand finale, or the start of something new, however, is open to debate.
Mir is fighting more aggressively than ever on the feet. Since he is so skilled and strong, he’ll likely long be capable of the types of exciting and violent victories he’s taken during his last two bouts.
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Mir has a great chin, and he used it to eat some big shots from Duffee during their quick but furious firefight of a contest. He took some and gave some, but his rang truer.
That isn’t to say that Mir won’t get stung by that same blade himself in the future, of course. He’s in a dangerous position now as a top-10 fighter who likely doesn’t stand a great chance of beating anyone in the top five.
Wins are always sweet, but when they get you closer to fights that may be dangerous for you, there’s the chance of a bitter aftertaste. At 36 years of age, and after a 14-year championship career, Mir has nothing more to prove.
Health-wise, however, there’s always a lot to lose by staying in the fight game too long. Fighters don’t often get the chance to walk away on a redemptive win or two, the way Mir has an opportunity to do now.
It’s hardest to walk away when the cheers are still loud and your fists are quite dangerous. In fighting, however, it’s not just always about staying a fight too late, but sometimes just eating one shot too many.
Mir has taken his share of blows over the years — from losses to injuries and near-fatal accidents that threatened his career. He’s always come back from those hurdles, though, just as most counted him out.
Mir has never gone away easy in a fight or in life, and he likely won’t go out easy with his career, either. Mir probably wants to make another run for UFC gold.
And, as a top-10 guy who has won back-to-back fights by knockout, that is certainly within his rights, and a quite sane objective. If Mir keeps coming out and getting into slugging matches, however, it’s going to catch up with him, eventually.
He’s never shied from danger or top competition, though, and we don’t expect him to do so now.
While we will always worry about any fighter approaching 40 who has a decade and a half of training and fight damage, we love that Mir keeps proving the world wrong and that he’s gutsier than ever. Mir has already written his own fairy tale ending, but he’ll likely not choose to take it.
There’s a danger in that insistence. There’s also no small amount of admirable beauty.