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UFC Rio Rancho: Scott Holtzman talks Jim Miller, and a desire to acquire the BMF belt

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Check out Bloody Elbow’s interview with UFC lightweight, Scott Holtzman, ahead of his UFC Rio Rancho collision with longtime veteran Jim Miller.

On this Saturday’s UFC Rio Rancho card, 13-3 lightweight Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman will be colliding with longtime MMA veteran Jim Miller. Winner of four out of his last five, Holtzman is coming off of a TKO victory of Dong Hyun Ma at UFC Newark last August. Now, the Tennessee native is looking to add a future Hall of Famer to his resume as he climbs the ranks. Before going to war this weekend, Holtzman sat down with Bloody Elbow to discuss how parenthood pushed him to change camps, the evolution of his boxing, how he matches up with Jim Miller, and his desire to acquire the UFC’s BMF title.

  • How has fatherhood changed your approach to the fight game?

“It’s changed a lot. It’s a different sort of motivation. One is I need to make more money. That’s the main, to be quite honest. Need to pay for that. Those guys are expensive, man. You should buy some diapers one time. That’s madness. I think my entire show check will probably go to diapers.”

  • So you’re training closer to home now at Gym-O and Shields Systems MMA. What was the reason behind departing from the MMA Lab?

“Family. I just needed to be closer to the baby. I spent two camps there [MMA Lab] after we had the baby, and it was just too hard. It was a lot to ask out of my wife to be there with a four-month old. She also still works full time. As you know, we’re not getting paid like baseball and football players. So she’s still working full-time and taking care of the baby, and I didn’t want to be away either. I never had a real dominant father figure, so I wasn’t doing real well. I wanted to be there. So, being there on the weekends and only having to leave Monday through Friday is a lot better than spending two or three months not at all at home.”

  • You’re coming off of an impressive TKO victory over Dong Hyun Ma at UFC Newark last August. You’ve always had hands, but it seems as if you’ve found new entries and ways to set up your power punches. Can you touch on the evolution of your boxing from when you first came into the UFC to where it is now?

“I just think it’s centered around staying balanced and my footwork, and trying not to load up. I’m always going to go out there and try to take someone’s head off. That’s just buried deep inside of me as a competitor, but trying to rein that in a little bit and trying to stay balanced. A big part of striking is staying upright and being able to strike and hit and not be hit and move. Just dialing it back a little bit, trying to take a little off the punches and stay balanced, and using my feet. So I really worked hard on footwork and movement, and it’s paying off for me.”

  • Your UFC Rancho Rio opponent, Jim Miller, is really known for his grappling. You’re known to stand and bang it out, which might make some people overlook just how good you are on the ground. How do you feel your grappling stacks up against Miller’s?

“It’s no secret that the couple of fights that I’ve lost were lost in grappling situations, so I’ve been working hard on that. I still feel like I’m growing in this game. I’m still newer. i still consider myself an up and comer. Even though I’m up there on the age chart, I still consider myself an up and comer and think I’m the best I’ve ever been. I’ve worked hard on a lot of those grappling situations and to fix those things. I’m going to try my best to keep the fight where I have the 1% advantage, because that’s how you win in the UFC.”

  • Do you think he’ll be forced to stand with you?

“I think the fight’s going to go everywhere. As you said, I think my grappling is underrated. A lot of people don’t see it, haven’t seen it because I don’t prefer to grapple as much, but I can grapple. I hang in there with black belts; I’m a black belt myself. I’ve done plenty of grappling, so when the fight starts rolling it’s going to be like two stray cats in a bag. So wherever we end up I’ll be fighting.”

  • Lately, Miller has been seeing getting quick first-round submissions. Do you think the longer the fight goes the more it favors you?

“I like to think so, yeah. You know it. We’ve seen some fights with him where he’s faded really badly midway through the second and third. I’ve just got to keep my steady pace on him. I can hold a really high pace. So, I’m just betting that Tennessee tough is tougher than New Jersey tough on Saturday night.”

  • I hate asking this question because it’s so cliche, but what is your official prediction on how this fight is going to end?

“I’m going to win. That’s the official prediction. I don’t care how I do it. In the UFC, any win is special. A win over a future Hall of Fame’r is even more special.”

  • Getting past Miller would have you winning five of your last six. After this, would you want someone close to the rankings, or are there any dream fights out there that you’re gunning for?

“I just got to get past Jimmy first. I need this win. I want to fight the best guys and be in that top tier of guys. I think that’s where I belong. I’ve worked, I’ve earned that. So I want to beat him first, and then we’ll see. I don’t really care about the belt or the rankings really. I’d like to get the BMF belt. That’s about all I care about.”