You might not have heard of Randi Miller (0-0) just yet, but if she has her way, you will very soon.
The 145-pound female fighter and Olympic bronze medalist makes her MMA debut on April 28 at the all-female Invicta Fighting Championships event in Kansas City, Kan., in a fight card that streams free on the promotion's website.
With her wrestling pedigree, Miller hopes she'll make it to the bigtime within a year or so, but she says she's not interested in following fellow Olympian Ronda Rousey in what she says was an "easy road" to the top.
"She definitely is entertaining, and her and Miesha (Tate) put on a great show," Miller told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "I had fun watching it all happen, but I do have an issue with how she didn't have to fight everyone to achieve that title.
"In my opinion, yeah, (she took) the easy road."
Rousey, of course, is also an Olympic bronze medalist, taking home the award as a judoka at the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2010, Rousey turned to MMA and has since won eight-straight fights, all by armbar, as an amateur and pro.
However, Rousey opened her career at 145 pounds before dropping a weightclass and fighting for the Strikeforce bantamweight title in her first bout at 135 pounds. Former Strikeforce champ Sarah Kaufman was one of the most outspoken protestors of the move, but Miller said she also disagrees with the decision.
"Coming up in the sport I've come up in, I think that if you're going to be a champion, you should have to fight everyone," Miller said. "For me, personally, if I don't beat everyone, I have hard time sleeping at night."
Miller is a decorated wrestler with extensive credentials. Since ending her Olympic career, Miller has been training in Colorado alongside top-ranked female fighter Cat Zingano, preparing for her MMA debut. Finding amateur fights was difficult, she said, so Miller is going to make the leap straight into the professional ranks.
"I think it's the name," Miller said. "I'm pretty sure that's the reason. I think if people are going to get in the ring (with me), they want to get paid for it, which makes sense."
So now Miller meets Mollie Ahlers-Estes (1-0) at Invicta FC's debut event, and she hopes it will start a fast-rising career up the ranks. But Miller said her wrestling background makes it impossible to skip any hurdles along the way to the top.
"Coming up in wrestling, that's just how it is," Miller said. "If you happen to go through a tournament, and you're on one side, and another No. 1 or No. 2 is on the other side and they get beat, you're always wondering if you could have beat that person.
"That kind of stuff keeps me up at night."
Whether or not Miller can match her wrestling success in an MMA career remains to be seen. She insists her striking is progressing well and she's adjusting to the pace differences between the sport. But for Miller, it's not predicting where she'll end up, it's about making sure she leaves no doubt whether or not she belongs to be there.
And could that run eventually mean a meeting with fellow Olympian Rousey?
"Is she on my radar?" Miller asked. "If she's going to be at 145, then definitely."