Based on his record, you wouldn't think that Frank Mir is the MMA equivalent of Michael Jordan. He's 18-12 and 2-7 in his last nine fights. But the result of a single fight doesn't matter. It never has in MMA. Guys get title shots coming off of losses. Others are stripped of titles after putting together long win streaks.
What truly matters is the opponents you've faced.
Anyone can pad their record with cans. Fedor Emelianeko reached legendary status in Japan by beating Yugi Nagata, Naoya Ogawa, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Zuluhino, and any other Japanese pro wrestler or sumo who wanted to try their hand at MMA. Cain Velasquez threatened Fedor's throne by beating Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva 20 times. People are ready to anoint Stipe Miocic as the best ever because he beat the heavyweight version of Sokoudou.
Look at who Frank Mir has fought. For 10 years, it's been nothing by champions and record holders. For 10 yers, he's been fighting the best heavyweights the sport has to offer. Miocic wasn't even in the sport 10 yers ago. Velasquez' team was making up stories about fighters ducking him. Fedor was so afraid of Mir that he refused to co-promote and instead bankrupt another company.
Here is a list of everyone Mir has fought in the past ten years and their accomplishments at the time he fought them:
*Brock Lesnar: IWGP Heavyweight champion, NCAA Heavyweight champion, WWE champion, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble winner, undefeated, stole Sable from Marc Mero, botched a shooting star press at WrestleMania and lived to tell about it
*Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: RINGS King of Kings winner, PRIDE Heavyweight champion, UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion, ADCC submission champion, had never been finished, has a twin brother, is good at soccer, trained Anderson Silva
*Brock Lesnar: Everything listed above, UFC Heavyweight champion, not paid by Bud Light
*Cheick Kongo: Record holder for most fouls in UFC history, Kings of the Ring Super World Champion, is nicknamed "The French Tickler," multiple kickboxing world titles
*Shane Carwin: NCAA Heavyweight champion, hits really hard, undefeated, known enemy of the Lactic Acid Monster, went on to win UFC Interim Heavyweight title
*Mirko Cro Cop: PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix champion, most first round finishes in PRIDE history, is a Wild Boy, has sent many men to the hospital, has also sent men to the cemetery
*Roy Nelson: The Ultimate Fighter winner, IFL Heavyweight champion, Grapplers Quest Superfight Champion, eats a lot, has a manly beard, thinks he's undefeated
*Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Everything listed above, beat Randy Couture, went to Australia
*Junior dos Santos: UFC Heavyweight champion, is friends with Breno de Carvalho, beat Cain Velasquez, hits really hard
*Daniel Cormier: Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion, undefeated, NCAA All-American, beat Cain Velasquez in a gym fight,
*Josh Barnett: UFC Heavyweight champion, Pancrase Openweight champion, killed Affliction, beat Brett Rogers, remember Brett Rogers?
*Alistair Overeem: Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, K-1 Grand Prix champion, DREAM Heavyweight champion, won't do interviews unless a camera is present, sent Brock Lesnar to WWE, kicks really hard, also beat Brett Rogers
*Antonio Silva: EliteXC Heavyweight champion, is the actual Bigfoot, beat Fedor, Cage Rage and Warriors Heavyweight champion, actually needs TRT
*Todd Duffee: Holds record for fastest KO in heavyweight history, was in Never Back Down 2, thought he has Inspector Gadget arms, did not have Inspector Gadget arms
*Andrei Arlovski: UFC Heavyweight champion, was beating Fedor for like two minutes, is the best pitbull of all the pitbulls, has a manly beard and cool mouthpiece, did not beat Brett Rogers
*Mark Hunt: K-1 Grand Prix champion, is super, hits really hard, does not feel pain
*Fedor Emelianenko, WAMMA Heavyweight champion, PRIDE Heavyweight champion, considered the best ever, defeated Affliction, PRIDE, and M-1 Global
Mir may have lost many of those fights. But he took years off their career. Who went on to accomplish anything after fighting Mir? You may argue Daniel Cormier, but Cormier was so afraid of heavyweight after fighting Mir that he dropped to light heavyweight. And now that Mir is out of the company, he's back at heavyweight.
The torture you have to put your body through in order to step into the cage with Mir is unlike any other training camp. Ask any of the fighters on that list. They'll tell you that training for Mir was the toughest training camp of their life. And they'll tell you that, even though they won, they were never the same.
Just a rumor, not an official announcement or training camp, sent Velasquez' body into shock. He hasn't been the same since. Miocic was fortunate enough to climb the ranks without having to go through Mir.
Mir has always fought the best. He won some. He lost some. But careers were never the same after stepping into the cage with Competition King.