Cole Miller Reveals He Had “Probably The Worst Camp” Ever Prior To Crucial Win Over Bart Palaszewski
By Kelsey Mowatt
One of the more intriguing match-ups at the recent TUF 17 Finale pitted Cole Miller against fellow vet Bart Palaszewski, and while the skills of each man was a key reason the bout was a “must see”, so was its importance. Both men were coming off back-to-back losses heading into the fight, and as a result, each featherweight relayed to Full Contact Fighter they believed their jobs were on the line.
At the end of the day, it was Miller (19-7) who emerged victorious, as he was able to secure a first round, rear-naked-choke on Palaszewski (36-17) and force the vet to submit. It was a much needed win, which came against an opponent, Miller readily admitted he respects a great deal.
“It’s nice to respect someone you’re fighting but as long as I don’t have to like the guy. You know what I mean? Miller said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing whether his win was diminished somewhat, by the fact it came against a fighter he admires. “For me, if I hate the guy or dislike the guy that I’m fighting, then it’s natural for me…or the middle ground, if I respect the guy I’ve got no problem fighting the guy either.”
“It’s hard to fight the guy if you really like the him,” Miller added. “I’d rather not like him. So if you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, or say what you’ve got to say in interviews, to make him to retaliate, to do that, then that’s part of your job.”
As most people expected, both Miller and Palaszewski came out aggressively and the two engaged in several striking exchanges, before Miller took the BJJ black belt to the ground.
“It was just an opening that I saw at that moment,” said Miller, when asked why he elected to shoot in on Palaszewski as the round neared it’s end. “I think I threw a Superman punch, and he covered up and ducked his head slightly…I saw that he had dropped his level and that he was going to have to come back up, so that was my opportune time to go for the takedown.”
The takedown also materialized not long after Palaszewski appeared to stun Miller, as the two traded strikes in the early going.
“At one point he did,” Miller said, when asked if the noted striker hurt him at any point during their April 13th bout. “When he was throwing multiple shots, like four or more punches in a row, he was able to clip me with the last strike each time, but one time he caught me right behind the ear which stunned me.”
The win secured Miller’s roster spot with the UFC, which is a position he’s held now since 2007 and for 13 fights. It was an emotional victory for Miller, not only because he’s certain he was in a “must win” situation, but because of other issues that surrounded the fight.
“This is survival of the fittest, this is fighting, so I did what need to be done, but obviously that takes a mental toll,” said Miller, while discussing what was riding on the bout and his preparation leading into it. “I had probably the worst camp I ever had. I missed two weeks due to sickness; I missed a week due to some minor injuries.”
“I had my Grampa, who has alzheimers, I dedicated my first fight to him back when I fought Andy Wang, that was when he was first diagnosed with alzheimers and now it’s really bad,” Miller added. “He and my Grandmother came to see me a week before the fight. It’s obviously not the right time to visit but what are you going to do?”
Although the 29 year-old Miller has had a difficult time lately, he’s hoping to have a busier campaign than he’s had in recent years due to injuries.
“When you’re fighting twice a year it’s not big money, but if I could fight three or four times a year I’d be thrilled,” said Miller, who hasn’t fought more than twice in a year since 2006. “I think I would have a little bit more financial security than I’ve been having. I’m stable, I’m secure and then all of a sudden I have surgery on my elbow, like I just had, and I don’t fight from August until April.”