UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos has given former title-holder Frank Mir extra motivation for their main event showdown at UFC 146, according to welterweight Dan (The Outlaw) Hardy.
Some trash-talking from the Brazilian in the UFC Primetime TV show about the May 26 card in Las Vegas has not gone unnoticed despite Mir's comments to the opposite, it seems.
"He's not a man. He gives up," Dos Santos says in Portuguese during a dinner in Brazil with veteran Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira captured on the show. "Against Shane Carwin, he pretended to be hurt. He's full of it."
Mir (16-5) lost to Carwin via first-round TKO at UFC 111 in March 2010.
Hardy, who has been training with Mir, says Dos Santos' comments were actually posted in Mir's private gym.
"There was actually a printout of that screenshot at the gym the other day. It has been mentioned a few times, it's been noted," Hardy told The Canadian Press on Saturday. "There will be retribution for that, I'm sure of it.
"Saying that about a guy that's already beaten one of your coaches (Nogueira) twice — striking and grappling — it's a foolish thing to do. Frank's got a reputation of liking to extend submissions to the fullest. And Dos Santos has got the rest of his career to think about. The last thing he wants to do is take six months, a year off to rehab an injury that Frank's could quite easily cause him."
"Personally I think it was a little bit of bravado and a little bit of immaturity. He's trying to build his own confidence for the fight. But it was a bad choice of words, without a doubt and I really do think he's going to pay in the fight."
Mir played down the comment when asked about it on a conference call Thursday, other than to suggest than Dos Santos has a way to go when it comes to trash-talking.
"I have no issues with my manhood so I guess I took it as just him trying to sell the fight and trying to stir the pot," said Mir. "Dos Santos, I think, has done better as far as a fighter in the Octagon than he has as far as trying to sell the fight so it's something that he's new at and maybe not the most successful with."
In the same conference call, Dos Santos stood by the comment.
"I don't promote fights by talking trash," he said though an interpreter. "What I say I say because I believe it. I confirm and I stand by what I said and what I meant by that remark is that I feel that Frank Mir lacks heart and lacks the ability to proceed through rough spots in a fight.
"That's my personal opinion. It's what I truly believe. I don't say things just to sell fights. I'm not a trash-talker, I never will be. So if I said it's because that's my true opinion."
Dos Santos does not have history of trash-talking, although he does glare at his opponent and defiantly point to the centre of the cage after being introduced before his fights.
Mir, like Hardy, does have a history of talking before fights.
Mir (16-5) used the "Primetime" show himself to make a veiled threat against Dos Santos (14-1).
"He's a pretty elite athlete. I don't think he wants one of his joints smashed."
Mir is coming off a UFC 140 win over Nogueira last December in Toronto in which the Brazilian's arm broke before he tapped to a submission.
In 2004, Mir snapped Tim Sylvia's arm during a submission win at UFC 48.
Hardy (23-10 with one no contest) is scheduled to fight Duane (Bang) Ludwig (29-12) on the UFC 146 undercard.