TUF 14 Finale: Five Ways Jason Mayhem Miller Can Evolve His Game

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2011

TUF 14 Finale: Five Ways Jason Mayhem Miller Can Evolve His Game

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    Jason "Mayhem" Miller simply looked stagnant Saturday night against Michael Bisping at TUF 14 Finale.

    The 30-year-old, who was gracing the Octagon for the first time since losing to Georges St. Pierre in 2005, looked out-of-shape, undisciplined on his feet and simply unprepared.

    This fight was meant to be Miller's official return to the UFC after dismantling Kazushi Sakuraba last year via first-round submission.

    Instead, it was Bisping who looked the part of a contending middleweight.

    To this point in his UFC career, Mayhem hasn't done nearly enough to just hang around atop the division.

    He needs to get better, train harder and rack-off deciding victories over established fighters, like Bisping.

    Here are five ways the TUF 14 coach can improve his in-cage skills and bounce-back from a welcome back loss.

Improve Cardio

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    Jason Miller surprised everyone Saturday night by showcasing some of the worst cardio in the division.

    Even though this was Miller's first fight in the UFC in nearly six years, there's no reason why he should have looked so out-of-shape and tired after just one round with Michael Bisping.

    It was evident by his lunging takedown attempts, snail-like striking and inability to land significant damage on a fighter he proclaimed "overrated".

    Honestly, I thought Miller was going to beat Bisping, or at least put on a show.

    The fact of the matter is that any fighter who wants to win fights and do so often, conditioning and cardio are key. 

    And while it's tough to diagnose one aspect of Mayhem's game as the sole reason he gave fans a dud of a fight, the lack of cardio is easily atop the list.

Improve Strength

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    Jason Miller never really possessed knockout power, or an above-average striking game, but in a division where power punching wrestlers reign supreme, Mayhem has to evolve his strength in order to last at 185 lbs.

    His powerless punches and kicks ultimately enabled Michael Bisping to stand in the pocket and pick him apart.

    This goes hand in hand with Mayhem's poor cardio preparation, but it also shows that he may be unable to takedown and submit more guys than we initially thought.

    Bisping isn't necessarily the most powerful fighter in the division, even though he's naturally a middleweight. So it's not like Miller was fighting a Mark Munoz Saturday night.

    If Miller wants to see better results in the Octagon he'll need to increase his strength and conditioning, and do it fast.

Establish Respectable Ground Game

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    Mayhem Miller looked overwhelmed in all aspects of Saturday's bout with Michael Bisping.

    But maybe in no other way than his inability to get things going on the ground.

    Miller has great jiu-jitsu, world-class, but it never really showed at TUF 14 Finale.

    Bisping used his size and strength to punish Miller on the ground, when the fight went there, and he did it without ever shooting for a takedown.

    The point is, Miller is at his best when he's on the ground and working for a submission.  His stand-up isn't anything special, so it's even more important that he gets things going early on the mat instead of getting controlled on his feet.

    If we take anything from Saturday's loss against Bisping, it's that without a sound grappling and transition game, Mayhem Miller is just an average MMA fighter.

Stick to a Predetermined Gameplan

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    I don't know what Jason Miller's gameplan for Michael Bisping was, but it didn't work.

    Knowing that Bisping was going to strike and strike often, Miller should have worked for more takedowns and attempted at least one or two submissions.

    Instead, it looked as if Mayhem never really had a sound gameplan at all coming into the fight.

    Bisping simply dictated the fight, persuading Miller to stand and band with a faster, stronger and more skilled striker.

    Heading into future fights, it's key that Miller sticks to his own gameplan, which should revolve around taking down his opponent and using his jiu-jitsu skills to grind out the victory.

    More importantly, Miller needs to avoid getting caught in a cat and mouse stand-up battle.

Fight Lesser Opponents

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    The most evident piece of information we can take from Jason Miller's dis-heartening loss against Michael Bisping this Saturday is that Mayhem isn't quite ready to face top fighters in the middleweight division.

    If Miller wants to work towards a title shot, which isn't even close to happening, he'll need to string along some solid victories.

    However, if he continues to get beat on his feet by superior athletes opponents, that's never going to happen.

    At this point, the 30-year-old should consider lowering his standards in order to get his feet back under him and create any sort of momentum at 185 lbs.

    Here's a quick list of fighters that would offer Mayhem a great chance to take-on a lesser opponent than Bisping.

    Alan Belcher

    Jorge Rivera

    Chris Weidman

    Basically, it's time for Miller to step back, take a breather, regroup and re-establish his worth among his fellow middleweights.