Two time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir had lost four matches in row, and his career clearly needed help. Inspiration for his resurgence would come from the unlikeliest of places, 125 pound boxing champion turned MMA fighter, Ana Julaton. How did a woman more than 100 pounds lighter than Mir help the heavyweight, a 262 pound man famous for breaking his opponents’ arms?
Former world champion boxer Julaton’s interest in MMA picked up when she saw MMA promoting women’s fighting, particularly through UFC champion Rhonda Rousey, in a way that boxing would never seemed to do. She turned to Ricky Lundell, who happens to be Frank Mir’s coach, to learn the ground/grappling aspects of MMA. When Mir saw Julaton work on boxing, he was amazed at her skill level and became inspired to train differently. He would learn techniques from his boxing coach Angelo Reyes (shown above with Mir and Julaton), and then Lundell would tell him how to incorporate that into his overall MMA game. Then he would work with Julaton, shadowboxing and learning from her how to set up that specific technique. You can a video of them training below.
Mir’s last two fights have ended in knockouts, taking out both Antonio “Big Foot’ Silva and Todd Duffee in the first round. Some people are not impressed, saying that he beat opponents who are in the declining parts of their careers. I am impressed not only from his knockouts, but at the increase in his boxing skills. Mir is said to be able to hold his own against boxers like ex-Heavyweight Champion Bermane Stiverne. He has progressed to the point where he will work as a sparring partner for WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck, who is preparing for a title defense.
“Think about what Frank has done here,” Reyes said. “He’s turned his career around, and he did it by going to Ana. How many men, especially men who are as accomplished in their field as Frank, are willing to learn from a woman who is an expert in their field? I mean, Frank could strike and he had some good knockouts in his [UFC] career, but he was willing to humble himself and learn from a woman who was an expert in her field.”
(photo credit: www.anajulaton.com)