Second coming of Frank Mir

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 3:10 PM ET

Though Mir is preparing for the biggest fight of his MMA career, the worst struggle is well behind him.

After winning the heavyweight title at UFC 48 – and breaking Tim Sylvia’s arm in the process – Mir was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. While heading to a workout session, he was hit by a car and sent flying.

The injuries sidelined him for a year. When he returned to competition, he was not the same fighter – he suffered two tough losses to Marcio Cruz and Brandon Vera, and earned a lackluster decision victory over Dan Christison.

“I love martial arts on so many different levels,” Mir said. “So at that point in my career when I was at my lowest – when I weighed 280 pounds and had a gut hanging over the top of Dan Christison – after that fight, if you told me I’d be back where I am now I wouldn’t have believed you. I don’t think anybody else would have, either. I really had a lot of soul searching after the Brandon Vera fight.

“To be where I’m at now … I often tell people, just to be a part of it gives me goose bumps.”

After some time away, Mir went back to the drawing board. With the help of his striking coach, Ken Hahn, Mir rediscovered his enthusiasm for MMA.

“The biggest thing he helped with was to fall back in love with martial arts,” Mir said. “After the accident I got back in the gym and some of the people I was around were more concerned with money and just showing up to fights in shape.”

With his confidence and enthusiasm back, Mir entered the octagon a new fighter.

His three fights since returning have not gone past the second round. He submitted Antoni Hardonk with a kimura at UFC 74, caught Lesnar with a kneebar at UFC 81 and then became the first person to ever finish Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92.

“Going into a cage and having someone hit you in the face and throw you around – if you’re not in it because you actually love to train and you love to compete, there’s no way,” Mir said. “I don’t care how much you pay somebody.”

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