Pat Miletich is the last of a dying breed.
At forty-one years young, “The Croation Sensation” is part of an exclusive and prestigious club of mixed martial arts pioneers that seemingly hasn’t lost a step based on his last outing. If anything, much like fellow UFC legends Randy Couture and Mark Coleman, Miletich may have found the fountain of youth as the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems looks as good now as he ever has before during his career inside of the cage.
Much like Miletich, fellow all-time Octagon great Frank Shamrock has also managed to keep himself relevant and fresh in a sport that has a tendency to leave those that can’t seem to evolve in it’s rubble.
FiveOuncesofPain.com recently had a chance to catch up with Miletich to discover that there is no other man he would rather throw down with than the previously noted Shamrock. Apparently the bout has been verbally agreed to, but according to Miletich, it’s in Frank’s hands as to whether it takes place or not.
Cory Brady for FiveOuncesofPain.com: Is there any word on when we will see Pat Miletich back in action?
Pat Miletich: We were hoping to put together a fight in March, but now it looks like that may not happen. We might have to wait for April or May. Who knows if it will ever happen. Frank Shamrock and I have verbally agreed to fight each other, but from what I understand he’s being difficult in the negotiations. For whatever reason he may have, I think it’s too bad because I think it’s the type of fight that would draw a lot of attention. It would be two guys that were UFC champions and have done a lot for that organization, and now they’re involved with Strikeforce. I think it just made sense. But for whatever reason I think he’s having trouble pulling the trigger. He may be nervous about getting slapped around, but that’s the way it sits right now. Hopefully I can find someone else to fight if he doesn’t want to do it. I want to get in there before Summer.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Have you signed with Strikeforce?
Pat Miletich: Frank and I – or from what I understand, I think Frank is too – but we’re both free agents right now. Whether it’s against Frank or whoever… I plan on fighting at least by April.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: But is the plan to fight for Strikeforce, or has that not really been fully determined at this point?
Pat Miletich: That’s who I would like to fight for. Frank and I both work for them, so it would make sense. I get along with Scott Coker and all of the people at Showtime and Strikeforce very well. I think Showtime and Strikeforce are very good companies. They treat their people very well, which says a lot to me. So yeah, that’s where I would like to end up, but we’ll see what happens.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Now you said that Frank’s being a little difficult in the negotiations; Do you think that’s due to him not wanting to fight you for whatever reason?
Pat Miletich: I think it could be. I think he knows what is most likely going to happen. We’ve rolled before so I have a sense for what he’s got. Obviously I’ve watched him fight for years and he’s a talented guy, but I don’t think he has anything to hurt me with. Maybe he knows that.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Do you think it may be a situation where he might not feel confident that he could get you to the ground and may not want to stand up with you?
Pat Miletich: He definitely doesn’t have the power to hurt me, he’s not going to submit me, he can’t out-box me, and he definitely can’t take me down. Maybe he’ll pull off something like he did in the Renzo Gracie fight so he can get out alive. Who knows.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: But if he steps up to the plate, do you still have a strong desire to fight Frank?
Pat Miletich: There was talk of Frank and I fighting when we were both champions in the UFC, but then he had contract negotiation problems and he left. So yeah, I think it would be a really fun fight.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: If, for whatever reason, you don’t end up fighting Frank, is there someone else you would like to match up with?
Pat Miletich: I would prefer to fight at 170 pounds, but I’d fight Frank anywhere. I don’t care what the weight is. It doesn’t matter. But I think I’d like to try to snag something from somebody at 170 pounds. I look at the 170 pound rankings and I see a lot of guys that I can beat.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: With that being said, what are your thoughts on Nick Diaz?
Pat Miletich: A lot of people have a different view of him because they only see him on TV, but when Nick and Nate see me, we’re very cordial with each other. I like both of them. I really like their attitude. I know a lot of people think it’s disrespectful but that’s what they do to get themselves pumped up for their fights. I love watching them. Nick Diaz is pretty fun to watch. He really is. He’s a creative and very talented kid. But yeah, I would definitely like to step in the cage with him. If he gives me a shot, that would be a blast. I think the crowd would love that fight too.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Would you ever fight Robbie Lawler under the right circumstances, or is that just absolutely off limits in your mind?
Pat Miletich: To me, Robbie’s like my little brother. We had the same wrestling coaches in high school. So the guys that took care of me my whole high school career, Paul Castro and Frank Freeman, were also Robbie’s coaches. Paul Castro called me when Rob was like sixteen and said, “Hey, I have a kid with a lot of ability and a lot of talent. He’s a really smart kid, but maybe he’s not surrounded by the best people”. So he asked, “Can he come over and start working out with you guys”, and I knew who Rob was. I’d watched him play football and wrestle, so I said, ‘Absolutely’. He started training with me when he was sixteen, so to me, that completely 100% would never happen. I couldn’t do anything to Rob to hurt him.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I remember seeing you in his corner during a local fight in Iowa when Robbie was like seventeen where he knocked some kid out; I’d imagine that would be a little bit like fighting an adopted son in some ways…
Pat Miletich: And I really don’t want to get hit by Rob Lawler (laughs).
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Right, that would never be a fun thing. But I know you’ve been in training for the last month or two for this possible fight with Shamrock; How do you feel right now compared to say, ten years ago? Honestly?
Pat Miletich: You know what, I train smarter now. I know what to do and when to do it. I’m doing a little bit of sparring and grappling, but for the most part I’m just doing strength stuff right now. I’m using the heavy clubs, the kettle bells, medicine ball, squats, cleans, and all of that sort of stuff. I’m getting my body really physically strong again. I run maybe once or twice a week, but nothing really hard right now because I really want to develop my power. But I feel very strong, and I feel good.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So you’re feeling confident at fighting at 170 pounds then. You fought your last fight against Thomas Denny at 170, right?
Pat Miletich: Yeah. In that fight I made it my goal to not get hit one time, and I didn’t get hit once. I think he may have slapped me a couple of times while I was on top of him, but I made it my goal to not get one time in the entire fight, and I did it. It’s fun to set goals like that. If you can go into a fight and say, ‘He’s not going to hit me once’, and then you do it during a fight that lasts seven minutes or whatever it was; That’s not bad.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: It seemed like you looked better in that fight than you had in a long time leading up to that one. Do you think you discovered something post 2006 that you were lacking before?
Pat Miletich: I just decided to be mean to people again. I made it my intention to finish people the way I did in the beginning of my career. I was so worried about winning safely before – so I wouldn’t get cut from the UFC and things like that – so I was basically fighting way too reserved. In my Muay Thai/Kickboxing and early MMA career, I pretty much finished all of my fights in pretty violent fashion, so I just decided to start being mean to people again.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I know you’ve done a lot of work in law enforcement and military training over the last fourteen years helping to develop self defense programs with different law enforcement and military training companies; Are you still actively involved in that work.
Pat Miletich: I’ve finally decided to just do it on my own. I’ve launched that at PatMiletich.com. You can check out the Law Enforcement/Military page over there to keep updated on when the big trainings are coming.