Outside of Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock and a handful of fighters from the early days of the UFC, no fighter is perhaps better known outside of the confines of MMA fans than Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Known for being the host of “Bully Beatdown” by those still turning on to MTV, Miller is known for his outrageous personality and his trash-talking feud with Nick Diaz that was supposed to culminate in a catch-weight fight between the two that never happened. Coming into the UFC after some time off due to the brawl he triggered with the Cesar Gracie led team after the Jake Shields-Dan Henderson fight, Miller was supposed to make his introduction opposite Aaron Simpson at UFC 132. With Chael Sonnen unavailable for this season’s show, “Mayhem” stepped in and the fight with Bisping was set.
Miller has a fairly remarkable resume of fighters and organizations he’s been in. Early in his career he lost a decision to Chael Sonnen and has fought Georges St. Pierre, Frank Trigg, Denis Kang, Tim Kennedy, Ronaldo Souza and Jake Shields in various organizations over the years. His battle with GSP is seemingly forgotten, the opening fight on UFC 52, and marks his lone fight in the Octagon until Saturday night’s main event.
That card was more noteworthy for being Chuck Liddell’s first title victory and Matt Hughes-Frank Trigg 2 than it was for either GSP or Miller. It would be Miller’s last fight at welterweight due to his issues with making 170 and would be GSP’s first UFC win after losing to Matt Hughes the first time. Miller’s loss to GSP would kick-start the Canadian’s next run at getting a title shot at Hughes whereas Miller would depart the UFC shortly thereafter.
He was always one of the fighters people seemed to be waiting to move to the UFC from Strikeforce after Zuffa’s purchase, as well, to see what he could do against the best of the division. So it’s fairly odd that Miller isn’t being viewed in the same light as the betting odds, which are only slightly in Bisping’s favor.
Miller is a fairly similar fighting to Bisping, using a striking based approached with an underrated ground game. Miller’s grappling work has kept him in fights he was losing; with 15 more seconds he could’ve potentially finished Jake Shields with a rear naked choke in the third round. Miller has been able to keep from being submitted by a wide variety of opponents with strong qualifications in that department; his defensive grappling is strong enough to keep him from losing and he has good enough BJJ to have finished a handful of strong grapplers including Kazushi Sakuraba, Robbie Lawler and Denis Kang.
His time at King’s MMA has been a boon, as well, and he’s had a year of being healthy and training with top level wrestlers and grapplers; Miller’s best chance at winning is going to be with a submission and not through a knockout. He hasn’t shown knockout power in the past but his standup should be good enough to keep up with Bisping and set up his takedown attempts.
This fight will be as important for Miller as it will be for his opponent. “Mayhem” has long been considered a potential Top 10 fighter in the division and has a fairly solid resume in that regard. His best shot at winning the fight is going to be keeping the pace of the fight within reason. Bisping is going to come out and want to push Miller on his pace to try and force Miller into making a mistake due to fatigue. Miller has the gas tank to go 25 minutes and survive, like he did against Jake Shields, but that fight had a slower pace then what Bisping will push. If Miller can slow the fight down in that regard he can catch Bisping with a big shot.
Bisping’s chin is strong but it’s not invulnerable. Miller is talented enough to survive the deep waters with Bisping but his best shot is going to be early; once fatigue settles in the fight will favor the Brit.