NEWARK - Frank Mir made his walk to the Octagon in the middle of the Prudential Center as Jay Z's "Forever Young" played over the speaker system.
The title of that song served as a perfect metaphor for Mir at UFC 169. He fought with that type of heart, knowing that at age 34 and on a terrible losing streak, this may have been his last night inside the place he called home for the better part of the past 12 years -- the UFC's Octagon.
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But, now, after his fourth straight loss in the UFC, that may be how many fans will have to remember him -- a former heavyweight champion who was very good at what he did back when.
Mir (16-9) took a beating from Alistair Overeem, losing by unanimous decision on Saturday night. The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, in favor of the dominant and determined Overeem (37-13, 1 NC).
Mir was knocked down in the first round and caught shot after shot after shot from Overeem. Elbows to the ribs, punches to the face, knees to the head. Mir took every one of them and still managed to get back to his feet. Once standing, he waved to Overeem to keep coming at him.
“I proved to everybody I’m back tonight," Overeem said. "Frank is a very experienced fighter, his game plan was to take me down, but I’m a well-rounded fighter, too, so I dominated him. This victory has motivated me a lot to go back to the gym and get ready for fighting again."
Overeem did. Strike after strike, round after round. Overeem hadn't looked that good in the Octagon in some time.
Overeem entered the UFC scene as the reigning Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 Grand Prix heavyweight champion. He made an explosive debut by finishing Brock Lesnar in the first round at UFC 141 on Dec. 30, 2011.
Since then, there was a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for elevated levels of testosterone in 2012 and a pair of knockout losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne in 2013.
"I heard there's word that Brock Lesnar is coming back to the UFC," Overeem said. "Well, I'll be here waiting for him."