TUF 14 Finale Results: Reasons Why Jason "Mayhem" Miller Is Far from a Contender
Jason "Mayhem" Miller's return to the UFC didn't go as planned. Instead of putting on the grappling clinic most of his fans wanted, Miller proved to be not much more than a moving punching bag.
Miller was candid in his post-fight interview, apologizing to his fans and admitting to getting tired.
It wasn't some sort of top-secret information that Miller gassed, but it was nice to hear a fighter refrain from making any excuses.
Besides the ire of Dana White, "Mayhem" has a number of reasons as to why he is miles away from speaking about the UFC middleweight title.
"Mayhem" Had the Fight Where He Wanted
Everyone knew "Mayhem's" best chance to win was getting the fight to the ground.
In the opening frame, he was able to wrestle Michael Bisping to the mat and had the Brit pressed up against the cage.
Miller could've used this opportunity to take some of the wind out of Bisping's sails, but instead chose to lay (or sit) on top of Bisping.
"Mayhem" never threatened with any submissions and failed to do any damage when he achieved the takedown.
As we've all seen, Bisping can be a hassle to get down, so Miller had to know if he got the takedown that he needed to do work. Instead, we saw "Mayhem" do nothing and still gas from the inactivity.
"Mayhem" had some serious cardio issues in the fight. I'm going to attribute it to an "adrenaline dump," as he did relatively little in the opening frame to warrant being so tired by the second round.
Miller is going to need to be calmer in his next bout should he get another chance in the UFC. He had an issue with the grinding style of Jake Shields and couldn't keep up with Michael Bisping's pace.
The end result is likely to be a lot worse when he faces someone who has KO power in his hands or devastating ground-and-pound to go with their submission game.
I don't believe "Mayhem" came to the fight out of shape, but he just wasn't prepared for the magnitude of what was happening.
And considering it was a fight at the Palms and not at MGM or another big arena, it will be hard to face down the pressure in front of a larger audience.
The Odometer Keeps Going Up
Jason "Mayhem" Miller's first professional bout was in April of 2001. Combined with an amateur career, that's over 10 years of fighting in the MMA business.
Besides the fights, the daily grind of training has no doubt had a lot of wear and tear on "Mayhem's" body.
Ten years is a long time in the fight game, and he may not have the time needed to make a run at the UFC belt.
He's likely, at the very least, three fights away from being considered "in the mix" given how he performed and how Dana White felt about the fight against Michael Bisping.
Even if Miller can turn things around in his next bout, time is ticking, and he probably doesn't have the mileage to make it back to base camp, let alone the top of the mountain.
It Could've Been a Lot Worse
Michael Bisping doesn't posses KO power with his hands. He's a technically sound puncher who works by volume rather than power.
"Mayhem" struggled to get inside and not only get ahold of "The Count," but also failed to do much of anything as far as striking goes.
Perhaps he had been watching too much of the Dan Henderson fight, as he routinely looked to land an overhand right at the end of each striking combination. Even when he was able to land his punch, it had very little effect on Bisping.
If Miller wants to survive in a division that has some serious KO stars like Vitor Belfort, Mark Munoz, Brian Stann, Wanderlei Silva and, possibly, Anthony Johnson, now he's going to have to work on both his striking offense and defense.
Drop Down to Welterweight?
When Michael Bisping spoke to MMAfighting.com's Ariel Helwani following the event, Bisping noted that Jason "Mayhem" Miller felt like a "small boy at times."
As much as Miller has said he doesn't want to drop to welterweight, perhaps it may be in his best interest. Bisping is a sizable middleweight, and there was a visible size difference.
If it was just a case of "Mayhem" being tired, that's one thing, but if he felt like a little boy to Bisping, what's he going to feel like when he faces the really big guys at middleweight?
It may be a pain to cut down another weight class, and "Mayhem" may not have it in him at this point in his career, but it's better than getting beaten from bell to bell on national TV.
Victim of His Own Success
As I said in a similar piece, "Mayhem" is likely to be a victim of his own success.
His personality and visibility with fans has made him one of the most popular fighters to ever step foot in the Octagon. What this means is that the UFC knows they have an instant draw for ticket sales by putting Miller on a PPV.
The UFC doesn't want to waste their investment and stick him on Facebook when "Mayhem" can draw fans on the main card. That means he's going to be matched up against guys who are likely better fighters than him and too good for him to be fighting at this point in time.
With that said, we only have to look back to last year and see how the UFC handled another popular star entering the Octagon...
The UFC Isn't Afraid of Losing "Mayhem"
As we saw with Kimbo Slice, the UFC isn't afraid to cut ties with a popular fighter who can't cut it in the UFC.
Slice arguably had a bigger following, given his YouTube history, and Dana White was willing to give him his walking papers after only one loss in the promotion.
Although Miller is likely to make the UFC a lot of money because he's a popular fighter, White knows the UFC brand is the biggest draw for fans and that "Mayhem" needs the UFC a lot more than the UFC needs "Mayhem."