NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Two weeks and a day ago, Tim Stout took the call that might forever change his career as a professional mixed martial artist. Offered a crack at former Icon Sport middleweight champion Jason “Mayhem” Miller on short notice, he leaped at the chance.
Stout will enter his match with Miller as a staggering 11-to-1 underdog at Strikeforce “Nashville” on Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena. The Newnan, Ga.-based middleweight relishes the role, viewing it as a golden opportunity to further his name in the sport. Depending on time constraints, the fight could air during the two-hour CBS telecast.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Stout said. “I’ve been training a long time for my shot. I was hoping it would come on a little more notice, but I’m definitely going to seize it.”
Stout, 31, knows he faces an uphill climb against Miller, a durable fighter who has proven notoriously difficult to finish. The colorful 29-year-old UFC, World Extreme Cagefighting and Dream veteran has tested himself against some of the world’s most accomplished martial artists, including reigning UFC welterweight king Georges St. Pierre, former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler and 2008 Dream middleweight grand prix finalist Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Stout values the extent of his opponent’s big-fight seasoning.
“He’s very experienced,” said Stout, who defeated WEC veteran Phillip Wyman by unanimous decision at a Bangkok Fight Night show two months ago in Atlanta. “That experience is my biggest challenge, but it’s not like I’m a rookie.”
A crafty grappler, Miller nearly ended the reign of Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields in November, when he locked the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in a rear-naked choke at the end of the third round. He has delivered more than half (13) of his 22 wins by tapout. Meanwhile, six of Stout’s eight defeats have come in such fashion, a trend he readily acknowledges and has worked to correct.
“His submissions are the strong part of his game,” Stout said. “When I’ve been submitted, it’s either been because I’m exhausted or done something stupid. I’ve cut out a lot of that in the last six to seven months.”
Stout, who has six first-round knockouts to his credit, made no attempt to hide his desire to keep the fight standing against Miller.
“I’m sure as hell going to try,” he said.
A native of Mountain City, Tenn., Stout understands a win over Miller at such a high-profile event could alter his course permanently.
“It would definitely catapult my career,” he said. “I want to be the guy holding titles. This would put me in position to get noticed by the people I need to get noticed by, but there are certain people in my way.”