Photo: James Law/Glory World Series
A little more than a year ago, Jarrell Miller suffered the first loss of his professional kickboxing career. The sting of that defeat still lingers.
Don’t tell Miller that records don’t matter in combat sports. While there is no shame in losing to a legend on his home soil, Miller believes he was robbed by the judges in losing a unanimous decision to Mirko Filipovic at the K-1 World Grand Prix quarterfinals in Zagreb, Croatia last March.
“Anybody who tells you a record doesn’t mean anything is full of s--t,” Miller recently told Sherdog.com. “A record means a lot. A record is basically your resume and [helps] you get your foot through the door. It was special for me because I worked hard to keep that record that way. So now it’s more personal. You’re trying to take money off of the table; you’re trying to take food out of my kid’s mouth.
Payback’s a bitch,” he added. “I’m gonna do my job 10 times better than the first time.”
Miller will get a second crack at “Cro Cop” when he faces the Croatian in the Glory 17 main event at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Saturday night. Glory 17 airs on Spike TV and will be followed by the promotion’s “Last Man Standing” event on pay-per-view.
An injury to Sergei Kharitonov gave Miller his opportunity, and “Big Baby” is confident the new matchup far exceeds the original.
“Trust me, people want to see this fight far more than they want to see Kharitonov,” he said.
Miller, who in addition to his 21-1 kickboxing mark is unbeaten in 10 bouts as a professional boxer, would like to change some things from the first meeting with Filipovic.
“[The first fight] had a lot of clinching, a lot of head butts,” he said. “If you watch any of my fights, you’ll know that I’m not a clincher; I stand up and fight until the guy drops or is about to pass out. If you watch any of his fights and do your research, you’ll see how he fights -- it’s with head butts, a lot of holding and wrestling.”
In order to avoid a similar result, the 25-year-old New Yorker plans on pushing the pace. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound Miller doesn’t plan on letting his opponent make it to the judges this time around.
“I’m gonna throw like a thousand punches a round, just be super overly aggressive. I don’t want to give him a chance to breathe,” Miller said. “I want him to walk out and then walk back to the locker room like, ‘Holy s--t, I wasn’t ready for that. This kid just whooped my ass.’ Nine minutes of hell, and he’ll be lucky if he makes it nine minutes.”
Even though the rematch is in the United States, Filipovic is the more recognizable commodity among fight fans thanks to a successful combat sports tenure in K-1, Pride Fighting Championships and the UFC. Miller, who has been focusing primarily on his boxing career since the controversial loss to “Crop Cop,” recognizes that he has a chance to put himself on the map with a victory.
“I’m still coming into my own. Hardcore fans probably know who I am, but the average person that watches MMA or kickboxing probably knows who ‘Cro Cop’ is,” he said. “It’s gonna be a ring buster, bro, and after this fight people are going to know my name. I’m ready to show up.”