Ahead of his bout against Bart Palaszewski at “The Ultimate Fighter 17” Finale, Cole Miller visualized defeat.
Then he submitted Palaszewski with a rear-naked choke 4:23 into the first round.
Coming off the win, he joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss his strategy and more.
On his game plan against Palaszewski: “The big thing was not to get knocked out. Other than that, I didn’t really have one. I was just thinking score some punches, and if he takes me down, get to work. Then if a takedown opportunity presents itself, then put him on the floor and do the same.”
On what he expected from Palaszewski: “I thought that he was going to do pretty much what he did: sit back for a little bit. He’s got really, really good eyes. Being the striker that he is, he sits back and he watches his opponents really well, which is what kind of makes him -- I don’t want to call him a slow starter, but he’s a patient fighter. He doesn’t really get going until the second and the third rounds because he pays attention to the movements, every little thing that his opponents are doing to him. I wanted to keep him guessing, throwing punches and kicks and feints and things like that, to make it to where he wouldn’t really catch on so much.”
On struggling through his training camp for the fight: “It was super hard. I missed pretty much half my camp. I had some little sidelining injuries that kept me out at the beginning of the camp, some training partners trying to pretty much hurt me. I was sick. I got the flu like everybody else in the country. I missed two and a half weeks off of that, and then the week before I left for my fight, my grandma and grandpa came down to visit and he’s got Alzheimer’s and it’s really, really bad. He’s starting to get violent and things like that. It really took its toll mentally on me.”
On getting injured while training: “Nobody was trying to send me to the hospital, but I think that when you’re a professional and you’re fighting at the level that I’m fighting, I think that some of these guys get a little too excited and they’re going a little too hard.”
On whether he felt pressure entering the fight with back-to-back losses: “I felt some. I just tried to ignore it so that way I could fight my style of fight. I can’t sit there and think about that kind of stuff too, too much. There was pressure, but if you don’t accept that you’re already going to be facing defeat, then you’re not going to fight like you should be fighting.”
On accepting defeat: “That’s how I go into pretty much all my fights. To make sure I try to finish my opponents, I go in there with that mentality. [I] just picture myself losing in every way possible and getting humiliated in every way possible. That way, when I do that, I accept in my mind that outcome is going to happen, and then once I accept it, then I’m fine with it. Then I can just go out there and perform the way that I know how to and I can search for finishes constantly.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 55:16).