Frank Mir is nearing the end of his fighting career, but he wants a rematch with Javy Ayala first to help him determine his immediate future.

Mir lost to Ayala last weekend at Bellator 212 in Hawai. He tapped to strikes after suffering a fracture to the alveolar ridge of his jaw. Mir’s mouthpiece wasn’t in place during the fight-ending sequence. However, the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion isnt sure how much of a role that played in the outcome.

“You start drawing questions whether you should still fight again. But then I have to start counting in how much did the mouthpiece create a factor into the outcome of the fight,” Mir said on the latest edition of his “Phone Booth Fighting” podcast. “Obviously, it was a huge factor in the outcome.”

Mir had his moments against Ayala, most notebly in the first round. He had the larger Ayala in trouble as Mir worked his way into top control. However, in the second frame things took a turn for the worst for the former champ.

Mir’s Thoughts

“The second round, there was a combination that I threw, and then afterwards he threw a punch back, and it knocked out my mouthpiece,” Mir recalled. “I clinched him up against the fence, trying to slow the pace of the fight down. And then when he reversed me, I kind of used it as an opportunity to look at the referee like, ‘Hey, can I get my mouthpiece back? You know, I’m fighting somebody that’s 265 pounds, and they punch hard, and I’d like to have it back.’ Then as I was trying to talk to him. Javy did a good job with his head positioning. It was good on my chin. Then one of the punches came through, and I felt like my teeth got knocked in, so that’s when I reached up and tried to essentially pull my teeth back out.

“When I reached up and grabbed them, they straightened out – which I found out the reason why is because my upper jaw was actually broken, so when I went to pull my teeth, all I did was straighten the jaw back out. I thought that was weird that they weren’t coming out for as loose as they felt. I felt them in the roof of my mouth just a second prior. Then, when I looked up at the referee, I’m like, ‘Well maybe if I get my mouthpiece back, I can frame it somehow.’ Then when I took another shot there, the pain was just pretty intense, and I’m like, ‘All right, there’s something not right up here.’

“I think it’s visceral. It’s animalistic when you know, ‘OK, there’s something majorly wrong with my body right now.’ … It didn’t feel like something I’m just going to walk off. So that’s when I just waved off the fight to figure out what’s going on with my mouth.”

In the days after the fight, Mir has remained silent on the matter. He has since reflected on the entire situation and admits  he’s rather frustrated at Mike Beltran’s officiating.

“The referee kicked my ass worse than anybody here,” Mir said. “He didn’t protect me at all.”

That is the main reason Mir hopes Ayala will run it back. Mir said that he was going to use this fight as a gauge to whether or not he should continue to fight. However, given all the question marks surrounding the outcome he simply doesn’t feel there are enough answers to make a good decision.

The Ayala Rematch

“I would actually like to have a rematch with Javy, reason being is because really he was a testing moment for me to feel if I should continue fighting or not,” Mir said. “He’s somebody that doesn’t have – obviously, he hits hard, but so does every other heavyweight. But he was picked as an opponent that was a very winnable fight – should be if I’m worthy of still fighting, and so then it’s really a crossroads for me.

“Immediately after, I’m like, ‘Well, I lost. I guess it’s time to hang it up.’ But then going back and looking at it, knowing what I was going through and knowing that, ‘OK, well, I won the first round. Is it really time for me to hang it up?’ I think the only way to really answer that is to rematch with Javy Ayala again. If I come through short again and it doesn’t work out, then it is time to hang it up. If I can’t beat the Javy Ayalas, then I probably shouldn’t be fighting anymore.”

The 39-year-old Mir has been competing professionally for over 17 years. He has been open about his career nearing an end and shifting his role back to being a full-time dad again.

But the former heavyweight champ isnt ready to hand em up just yet. He suggested he will change his entire approach to the fight if Ayala was to grant him a rematch.

“A week before the fight I was celebrating my anniversary,” Mir recalled. “I think if I really am going to continue fighting and get the opportunity to rematch Javy. I think that me going to a camp an disappearing and just taking it a little bit more mentally serious. I’ve kind of been able to be a part-time dad and then part-time fighter and had some success at it. But if I look at my record the last couple years, it’s not working. I’m not young enough and talented enough to get away with it anymore.”

Just to be clear Mir isnt entertaining fights with anyone else. He just wants to run it back with Ayala. Questions remain unanswered and Mir is hoping Ayala will be willing to help him find those answers.

“That’s the most painful thing I’m dealing with right now,” Mir said. “Like, ‘Is it the end of my career? Is it over with? Should I see the writing on the wall?’”

Mike Straus @AKAstraus21 is a credentialed MMA journalist and a member of the MMAJA. He has been a fan of the sport since its inception and has been covering the sport professionally for three years. In the past, he has produced content for Fansided's Cagepages, mma-media.com, and Combatpress.com. He currently contributes for MyMMANews.com, he is a staff writer for Cagesidepress.com, and LowKickMMA.com. He most recently began writing for BJPenn.com.