When Ben Miller was just a kid, he watched Enter the Dragon and said to his dad “I want to do that.”
So at just five-years-old, he started taking Karate. At eight-years-old, he added Tae Kwon Do and when he was 17-years-old, he got his first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. In 1998, Miller, who is part of the Detail Crew at Mid-States Concrete Industries, won the U.S. Nationals and took third in the Olympic trials.
In 2000, Miller began full contact fighting and kickboxing. In 2002, he won the U.S. Kickboxing Championship. In 2003, Miller began MMA fighting and turned pro in 2005.
“I just liked the competition,” Miller said.
Miller, who has worked for Mid-States since Dec. 2015, trains six days each week, for four hours each day at Northern Illinois Combat Club in Machesney Park. Training includes weight training and conditioning, boxing, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and sparring.
“I love to compete and it’s something I’ve done my whole life,” Miller said. “If I lose, it’s all on me. If I win, it’s all on me.”
For Miller, working out helps him clear his head. When he is training and fighting, he has to keep eagle-like focus on the task at hand. Through his training, Miller has learned the importance of going after what you want and being aggressive about what you want. Studying Jiu-Jitsu has also helped him with his patience and helped him be more analytical.
Going pro at 24-years-old came down to impressing the right people, Miller said. One night, when he was scheduled for an amateur fight, his coach called him and expressed his opinion that amateur fighters just didn’t pose a challenge for Miller anymore and he wanted to put Miller in pro fights. It started that night.
When fighting was his full-time job, Miller was competing about seven times each year, now he fights three to four times each year. He has a fight coming up on Dec 10 at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.
“It will be a tough competition,” he said.