As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve, the array of skills possessed by fighters has rapidly transitioned from a skillset limited to one or two forms of combat, to a spectrum of competencies ranging across the entire landscape of martial arts.
And perhaps, there's no better embodiment of this evolution than Fury FC's Mo Miller.
Miller is one of very few people on the planet who can claim the rights to multiple collegiate wrestling All-American honors, as well as a black belt in taekwondo. As a child, Miller and those around him may have found the two disciplines completely unrelated, but when embarking on a career in MMA, world-class striking and grappling backgrounds aren't exactly the worst thing to possess.
"When I was younger, my brothers and I played almost every sport," Miller said. "I think taekwondo came first as far as martial arts, and shortly after, we were wrestling."
Despite his taekwondo training preceding his wrestling efforts, Miller knew taekwondo had to take a back seat if he truly wanted to succeed as a collegiate wrestler. With that being said, he always managed to keep in touch with his roots, even in the midst of an All-American wrestling career at Notre Dame College.
"I kind of stopped taekwondo to focus on wrestling, but when college was on break for the summer I would practice martial arts again, so I was still using the tools throughout college," Miller said. "My focus was still wrestling, but the moves never leave you, so when I started MMA, it came right back."
When decided to shift his primary dedication in the direction of wrestling, Miller's sacrifice paid off. He earned himself three separate All-American honors competing for Notre Dame College, becoming a staple of the program during his four-year tenure.
"Every year I was there I was always around high-level athletes, so I was forced to pick up my pace," Miller said. "That was a main reason why I became an All-American, because coming out of high school I never even qualified for States."
By the time he concluded his collegiate career, "Mo Show" believed his striking background and wrestling acumen would make for a seamless transition into the world of mixed martial arts.
With multiple submission and knockout victories to his resume, it's clear that Millers diverse martial arts background has paid off in the cage.
"I'm going to finish him," Miller said. "I got a wide range of tools and I think, for sure, I'll get him out of there."
This story first published at UFC.com.