Lee Mein on Son Jordan’s Upcoming UFC 158 Debut: “He Wants To Prove He Belongs And That He Can Beat Anybody”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While some Strikeforce veterans may have been tempted to wait out the organization’s final months, with the hopes of a securing a UFC roster spot, Jordan Mein and his father Lee decided that being proactive was the best path to an Octagon appearance. As 2012 entered its final stages, and the future of Strikeforce increasingly looked grim, the Mein’s requested permission to have Jordan fight outside of the organization.
Despite having gone 2-1 under the Strikeforce banner, with his only loss coming via split decision to Tyron Woodley, Mein wanted to stay busy rather than wait for the UFC to call. If Mein had lost to Forrest Petz, at a Score Fighting Series event last November, his dreams of competing in the UFC would have suffered a significant setback. Ultimately, however, it was determined that the risks did not outweigh the rewards.
“It’s always about that Jordan wants to fight,” the “Young Gun’s” longtime trainer and father Lee said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently. “He wants to stay busy and he wants to fight the best guys out there, and he believes he can beat the best guys out there.”
In the end, Mein ensured that the UFC take a long look at bringing him over to the promotion, by blasting through Petz in under two minutes. When the curtain finally dropped on Strikeforce as an organization, it was announced soon after, that Mein was indeed joining the UFC welterweight division.
“We were well aware when we were fighting for Strikeforce, and now the UFC, that if you’re not winning you’re gone,” Mein furthered. “Jordan accepts that. He wants to prove that he belongs and that he can beat anybody. So, if you fight outside the organization, and you lose, you know you’re going to get cut. But if you have confidence in your game, and that you’re going to beat everyone that gets put in front of you, then go for it. It is risky but that’s the whole sport; there’s no guarantees in this game.”
When Mein (26-8) joined Strikeforce in 2011, he and Lee never hid the fact that they were hoping to use the promotion as a road to the Octagon. Now, Mein (14-6) will not only make his UFC debut next month on March 16th, but he will do so against one of the promotion’s most resilient vets, Dan Miller.
“When they asked us to sign with Strikeforce we knew that since ZUFFA owned both companies; it would either be a matter of time before they brought him over, or they would shut Strikeforce down eventually and move him over,” said Mein. “It was a good avenue to go fight the best opponents out there…it was a win-win for us to be there.”
Although Miller is 5-5 in his last 10 bouts, four of his defeats came against current or former middleweight contenders in Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping and Nate Marquardt.
“Absolutely,” said Lee, when asked if he views the 31 year-old Miller as a dangerous opponent for his 23 year-old son. “We asked for a tough opponent as soon as he got signed, and when they brought Dan Miller’s name we thought “perfect.” We know what he fights like; we know he hasn’t been finished by anybody and he’s fought the top names at 185 and now he’s down at 170.”
Now it remains to be seen how the upcoming, UFC 158 tilt between Mein and Miller will play out. Mein has continued to showcase the striking abilities that made him a star in Canada prior to his tenure with Strikeforce, while Miller’s grappling pedigree and well rounded skill set is well documented.
“We’re prepared for that but he’s stood and banged with some of the top guys out there, and done really well with them striking wise too,” said Mein, when asked if they expect Miller will try to take the bout to the floor. “So, we don’t think he’s going to avoid striking with Jordan, but I think his best gameplan would be to take Jordan down and play that game, than standing with Jordan.”
“If it goes against the fence, Jordan’s game against the fence is looking really sharp right now and his ground game is through the roof,” Mein added. “We want that challenge too. We’re not necessarily trying to avoid going to the ground either.”
UFC 158 will be hosted by the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec on March 16th.