I've written about the sport of Mixed Martial Arts for over three years now, interviewing 30 athletes, managers and personalities in the sport over the last year and a half.
Some of the interviews went easier than others but, for the most part, it's been smooth sailing. Then I met the one guy who didn't like my style and wasn't big on cooperation, and that man is Jason "Mayhem" Miller.
"Have your questions like clear and concise and ask them like with confidence," Miller told me like an upset teacher would tell their student. "If you're not asking with confidence it really sounds like you're a guy in his mom's basement, not an actual writer."
That's a sample of some of the kind words Miller had for me.
Usually for a feature piece of the written word, I prefer to have a conversation with the fighter to see where the interview leads us as opposed to having preset questions, but with Miller, that simply wasn't the case—for the most part.
I say for the most part, because some interesting things were said during our short conversation, so without further adieu, let's hear what he had to say, besides bashing my "style" or lack thereof.
Despite not wanting to talk about his last fight against Michael Bisping, Miller appears to have taken what UFC president Dana White said after the fight to heart judging by his actions.
White had some harsh words for Miller.
"Some of the punches that were thrown by Mayhem Miller in this fight, you could go to a girls' Tae Bo class and see better form, better stand-up. It was embarrassing," White told the media at a press conference shortly after the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
Miller knows his shortcomings against Bisping and has been working to correct them. He made the trek across the Atlantic to go work on his kickboxing in Holland, one of the aspects of his game that looked like it needed work after the fight with Bisping.
"I trained with my Afghan brother Siyar Bahadurzada, and I got some amazing training in the art of kickboxing," Miller said. "I worked with other guys at the Golden Glory gym."
In terms of kickboxing, there aren't many better places in the world to learn the art form than the Netherlands. With former K1 champions and greats like Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Badr Hari and many others, the Netherlands has been a hotbed for great kickboxers.
Bahadurzada recently made his UFC debut against Paulo Thiago at UFC on Fuel TV: Gustaffson vs. Silva. He extended his win streak to seven with the 42-second knockout victory that had Thiago face down on the canvas.
Highly touted for his striking prowess, Miller couldn't have trained with a better guy to improve his stand up. Bahadurzada has great striking, and he seems to have adapted it well for MMA, which is great for Miller.
Miller doesn't think very highly of his opponent C.B. Dollaway for UFC 146 this Saturday. That much is clear.
"He's going to get his a** kicked because he's not as good as I am at fighting," Miller said.
Dollaway has a wrestling background, but Miller doesn't think of him as a wrestler at the moment. In fact, he doesn't think very highly of Dollaway's style at all.
"He's turned into a kickboxer recently," Miller said. "A kickboxing grappler. That is what he is. His wrestling, he uses it, but the majority of his fights are these strange kickboxing matches where every once in a while he shoots a takedown."
Dollaway was knocked out in his last two fights, so I'd expect him to revert back to his wrestling, and Miller will be ready for whatever his opponent comes with.
"I'm ready for everything!"
With the way Miller was talking about Dollaway, it seemed as if he was maybe a bit upset with the UFC for relegating him to the undercard against a fighter on a two-fight losing streak. I asked Miller if this was the case, and he denied being upset with the UFC at all.
"I'm not bitter at them [the UFC] at all. I put on a crap performance, and I deserve whatever the hell I get," Miller said. "I'm going to smash this guy [Dollaway] to show where I deserve to be."
With a win over Dollaway, which according to Miller is going to be the case come Saturday, where does Miller deserve to be? What should be next?
Jake Shields, 1-1 at welterweight since his loss to current champion Georges St-Pierre, has made the decision to move back up to the middleweight division, where he holds notable victories over Dan Henderson and Miller himself.
One would think the rematch between Miller and Shields would make sense should they both win their next fights. Miller even asked him for a rematch in the cage after Shields defeated Dan Henderson, leading to the Strikeforce Nashville brawl between himself and the rest of the scrap pack, which includes the controversial brothers Nick and Nate Diaz.
"He (Shields) doesn't deserve to fight me. Watch what I do to this guy [Dollaway] this weekend and then we'll write the next chapter in the Mayhem story," Mayhem said.
It was a bit surprising to hear Miller shrug off the Shields rematch like that. One would figure he'd want to get that loss back, but maybe with his performance this weekend Miller is looking to show himself, fans and the UFC that he has bigger fish to fry in the middleweight division.
We'll just have to wait and see what Miller does on Saturday against Dollaway before we can speculate on what happens next.
That's what we managed to talk about during the short time we spent on the phone together with some rough patches in between. Miller trained his butt off for this fight and hasn't been eating the way he likes, which is testing his patience.
Despite the rocky time, Miller was somewhat apologetic towards the end.
"Good job, bro, I hope it comes out good, and I am sorry I gave you so much trouble. It's been a long day."
Miller also did an interview with MMAfighting.com's Ariel Helwani today and talked a little bit about his frustration this week and the rough interviews he's given to a few people.
"I like hearing myself talk, obviously I like to do interviews and what not," Miller told Helwani. "For this camp I've been kind of a jerk, like I've done some interviews, which I owe you guys an apology, I'm sorry I've been kind of a jerk to people."
I imagine my interview with him is one of those interviews. In any case, maybe with a tweak in my "style" and a little more willingness from Miller, we can setup round two.
Leon Horne is a writer for Bleacher Report and is part of the B/R MMA interview team, Follow @Leon_Horne
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