Jason "Mayhem" Miller did take his fight with Michael Bisping at last night's Ultimate FIghter 14 Finale seriously, lest we forget.
The weak attempt to get the crowd clapping and the moderate fist pumping Mayhem did before Bisping walked out to the Octagon, combined with the rather cold stare from Mayhem and the expected refusal to touch gloves, should have been the dead giveaway to how seriously Mayhem was taking this fight.
Mayhem normally puts forth a stronger effort in his entrances and he's normally a more joyful sort inside the cage.
So what happened, besides him looking at Bisping's ugly mug?
Call it whatever you wish, whether it be over-training or underestimation, but when Bisping and Miller accidentally clashed heads, Mayhem was never the same, and that's a shame when you consider the first round.
Mayhem actually looked quite able to secure takedowns and land significant strikes in round one. For a moment, it seemed like Mayhem would find a way to win, but once the two noggins clashed, Bisping found ways to put combinations together while defending the wild single-leg takedown attempts from Mayhem, who also found his nose busted open in round two.
The knees to the body that did in Miller once round three came along were pretty academic as Mayhem just looked to either gas out in round two or suffer from some sort of adrenaline dump.
Despite the loss, Mayhem remains a noteworthy contender in a Middleweight division that lacks an honest array of contenders outside of the recently-returned Chael Sonnen and potentially Mark Munoz.
Michael Bisping earned a win over Mayhem but he also acknowledged that a first round like the one Bisping had with Miller would not cut it against Silva, and Mayhem knows that nobody is going to resort to rounds two and three of Mayhem's bout with Bisping in arguing for a title shot, just like everyone knows that Mayhem is not going to make any excuses for his performance tonight.
Mayhem will need to up his cardio, refine his technical striking and work on getting some nasty, slick footwork, or maybe just some creepy head and body movement, to possibly help him defend a strike or two.
Mayhem does have the diverse striking, he has the kickboxing, he has the Jiu-Jitsu and the ability to concentrate his energy properly when going for takedowns—he did it quite a few times against Bisping—so there's no question about whether Mayhem has the tools he needs to make his own case towards title contention.
All it is is a matter of honing and refining his mastery of the martial arts to where he can effectively neutralize his opponents without tiring, much like he has done in the past.
We know the man can put it all together when it counts, but for almost 10 minutes, none of it was there, and until Mayhem sticks to his word and takes it there, he'll be stuck with ten lousy minutes that say that Mayhem cannot last with the the big dogs when his shot counts.
Mayhem tweeted his frustration with what many believe was an adrenaline dump, and many believe that it's not if he can come back stronger, but when he will come back stronger.
I believe Mayhem can come back stronger after this experience, but it's easy to talk about coming back stronger than ever; doing it is a whole other animal, so for Mayhem, there's no time like the present to help himself to figure out how to get a little bit more mentally buff the next time out in the Octagon.
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