Ahead of his April 13 bout with Cole Miller, Bart Palaszewski sat down with FightLine to talk about the fight with Miller at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, as well as various other topics including the recent Zuffa cutting spree.
Bart, you’re fighting Cole Miller at the TUF 17 Finale, can you talk about the way you two match up a bit?
Yeah, I think it’s a good fight for both of us. We both know what’s on the line. Stylistically it’s going to be a real fight because we both have to get out there and put on a show in one way or another.
How’s this training camp going this far and what are you preparing for in Cole’s game?
I’m getting ready for everything. He’s got a good grappling background, good stand-up, he’s extremely tough. He’s going to have a lot of reach on me and I know he trains with a good team at ATT.
Recently on Twitter, you mentioned that you’ve been training with Scott Jorgensen. What other changes have you made to your camp for this fight?
I first went out to train with Scott a bit last year. This time around, I can’t leave home though.
After my last fight, my wife and me decided that we want to have a second baby. You know how you hear stories about people trying and it takes a long time? I thought it would take longer than what it did, but she got pregnant after the first week.
She’s really far along now, so I can’t be taking her back to New Mexico to train with me. As much as I love those guys there, I can’t leave my pregnant wife alone.
You mentioned having a second baby. Tell us about the mental changes a fighter goes through when they have a child.
Man, I have a five-year-old daughter and I love her. It definitely puts extra pressure on you. It’s big. The stage when they’re little babies is the worst for a fighter. They’re up and down all night, I hate THAT, but I love being a father.
Now that my girl is five years old, I am able to carry a conversation with her, play around, stuff like that… It’s not fun when they’re crying at night, you don’t know what they want, and you have to train in the morning. This time around after she’s born, I’m going to take some time off and be a responsible adult.
Historically, Cole Miller’s biggest weakness has been guys who are extremely aggressive and press the action, coming forward with strikes. Is that something you’re looking to do now?
I mean, I’m going to have to be aggressive. I like to counter punch, but I know I can’t with a tall guy like him. He could keep me at the end of his punch and I’ll be in trouble. I have to come forward more. When you get to this level, you have to get ready for anything. There’s a lot on the line for both of us right now.
You mention having a lot on the line and the two of you are coming off of losses. Do you feel your back is up against the wall?
We’re both coming off of two losses. Especially when you see what happened recently where 15 guys got released. If you lose right now, you might be done, unless it’s a real fight. I don’t know if they’ll cut us. I’m obviously not looking to lose, but things happen in a fight. It takes one punch to end it sometimes.
I’m not thinking about it. I’m not putting that pressure on myself. Hopefully I win and hopefully we put on a good show.
You mentioned the recent landscape of the UFC, where you can lose your job in a blink. What goes through your mind when you see something like that? I mean, waking up in the morning and hearing 15 men lost their jobs and that number will end up being close to 100 men… it’s rough.
Man, it sucks. It really sucks for them. You have some big names being released, you have the guys with a string of losses, but then you have the guys coming off one loss too.
I’ve lost two in a row and I’m still here, so I know that they love watching me fight, but it’s a bad situation for them.
Being a featherweight and former lightweight, this division has seen an influx of 155 lb. talent, including Anthony Pettis, who you’re well acquainted with, holding a victory over him. Talk about that.
I think it has more to do with weight cut than anything else. You go back five years, and it’s not like today where it’s a scientific process. All these guys know how to make weight today without being drained. It’s going to keep happening.
I don’t know, maybe I should go to 135 lb., I guess. (laughs) There’s going to be a lot of big guys coming down.
There will be a lot of big names too, but right now I’m coming off of two losses. I can’t be worrying about those guys yet. I don’t have to worry about Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar, and Anthony Pettis, they’re in a different place than me.
What’s it like up at Team Curran right now? I know you and Pat Curran both have fights coming up, Pat just fought recently. How active are you guys in each other’s camps? Is it like jumping out of one fight camp and into another?
Yeah, we’re extremely active. We spend a lot of time in the gym together because I think we’re only fighting a few days apart from one another. We’re going to be spending a lot of time together over the next month or so.
You mentioned going to New Mexico train last year. At Curran’s you have more of a concentration of fighters about your size, meanwhile it’s more spread out at Jackson’s. Can you talk about the value of training with each?
Jackson’s is great. There are guys my size and there are bigger guys. Training with the bigger guys, I mean, they’re also pro fighters and they’re twice your size, it was an ass whooping. It was great.
Out here at Team Curran is great too. We don’t have a lot of those established bigger fighters, but we have a lot of up and comers. Then there’s Pat and Jeff We have a lot of great talent here kicking my ass. We have pro boxers, world-class grapplers, just a lot of specialists in certain areas we have to keep up with.
I love both camps. Everything just kind of led me here at once. My wife got pregnant, like I said, my roommate down there had to relocate for his job, so I didn’t really have a place to stay. Then when I came home, I started going to school here, I can’t really bail on that to travel for camps.
What are you studying in school? I imagine that it’s hard to be a fulltime fighter and a fulltime student.
It’s actually kind of nice as far as I have flexibility as far as my schedule goes. I’m trying to get a degree in political science, but right now I’m still doing all the general education stuff.
Finally, what’s your fondest memory in the sport thus far?
The Tyson Griffin fight. After fighting for over a decade, finally making it to the UFC and making a big statement against a tough opponent. That was probably the biggest moment in my life as far as fighting goes.