Nam Phan Says Win Over Cole Miller Is a “Big Deal,” Still “More Than Willing to Give My Fair Opinion” of Steven Seagal
By Kelsey Mowatt
Nam Phan headed into his bout with Cole Miller this past Saturday in search of a big win and got it by working his way to a split decision victory over the fellow TUF vet. Not only did the victory return Phan to the winner’s column, following his unanimous decision loss to Jim Hettes, but it came over an established fighter whose had high expectations follow him to featherweight.
“Oh man, to me Cole’s a big name,” Phan said about Miller, who during his tenure at lightweight scored wins over Ross Pearson, Jorge Gurgel and Leonard Garcia among others. “It’s a big deal because he is a big name. When you’re in the UFC anyone’s good but Cole is definitely one of the bigger names in the division.”
Of course, one of the reasons Miller dropped to featherweight was to further exploit the reach and length advantage he would have over the competition. During their UFC on FOX 4 bout, however, the 5’6 Phan was consistently able to battle through the defenses of the 6’1 tall Miller to land several punishing shots.
“The whole plan was to get inside on him,” said Phan. “Get past that long reach. I think I did pretty well. I think I executed the plan pretty decently.”
“I felt like I had enough boxing experience to avoid his reach and get inside,” added Phan, while discussing how much he had game planned taking Miller down prior to the bout. “I thought I would be able to work my punches.”
Although Phan is happy with how his strategy played out, one of the three cageside judge’s did award the extremely competitive bout to Miller.
“I felt like I did enough to win all three rounds actually,” the 29 year old Phan (18-10) relayed. “I was pretty surprised when I heard it was a split decision.”
“I thought I did pretty well; I pushed the pace on him pretty hard,” Phan furthered. “Most importantly, I’m just happy I got the win. It’s hard to win in the UFC because all these guys are so talented.”
Although with the victory Phan prevented his UFC record from dropping to 1-4, the BJJ black belt doesn’t believe he was in a must win situation prior to the bout.
“No, I didn’t feel like that all,” said Phan, who avenged a controversial split decision loss to Leonard Garcia in December, 2010, by scoring a UD win over him last October. “I didn’t feel like I was going to get cut or anything like that; I just felt like I wanted to go in there and fight.”
Due to each man’s reputation and aggressive style, the fight delivered plenty of entertaining action as many people expected. So much so, Miller and Phan were early contenders for “fight of the night” honors. In the end, of course, the award and an extra $50,000 each went to Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner.
“I did; I really thought we had a shot at the bonus,” said Phan. “I thought it was between us, Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner; it was tough. There were so many good fights that night but Joe and Jamie deserved it. Those guys put on a war.”
And in terms of what’s behind Phan’s now well documented back-and-forth with actor and martial arts instructor Steven Seagal?
“I think he took too much credit for Anderson Silva’s success,” said Phan. “I don’t like that. I don’t like that he thinks of himself as Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida’s master, and that he’s behind their success. He takes too much credit…All my interviews people have been asking about Seagal and I’m more than willing to give my fair opinion of him.”