This is a new era in the fighting career of UFC veteran and New Jersey native Dan Miller, for in his last fight he was victorious in his long-awaited welterweight debut. Miller was a small middleweight, but he certainly isn’t a small welterweight, and now he feels right at home. Out of his 11 fights inside the Octagon, against the likes of top contenders such as Michael Bisping, Demain Maia, Chael Sonnen and Nate Mardquart, Miller has yet to be finished, and doesn’t plan on getting finished anytime soon. He’s looking to make a run at 170, and with the talent he possess, it’s definitely a possibility.
You’re coming off a big win over Ricardo Funch in your welterweight debut, which earned you “submission of the night” in a fight where you really displayed some clean, technical striking, and relentless submission attempts. How do you think that fight went and how pleased were you with that victory?
“I’m very pleased with the win. Ricardo’s a tough kid, he’s been in there with some really tough guys. I’m happy with the way the fight went.”
Speaking of your welterweight debut, how does the weight-cut experience differ from welterweight and middleweight, and how good do you feel at 170?
“It’s a pretty big difference. 185 isn’t really a huge cut for me, making 170 is pretty tough, but at 170 I don’t feel like I’m going to get bullied. Some of the guys at 185 were a little too big for me. I was a small 185 pounder. Now I feel like I can compete in strength and match physically in size. I definitely feel better at 170.”
Next up for you is Jordan Mein, who is making his UFC debut at UFC 158. Mein is 26-8, with 14 knockouts and 7 submissions, so he definitely possesses the ability to finish a fight. However, out of your 21 professional bouts, you’re still yet to be finished, which is certainly a testament to your toughness. Mein, on the other hand, has been finished five times. Besides the Octagon experience, where do you think your advantages lie?
“On the mat, I believe wrestling I have the clear advantage. I’ve been working really hard on my striking. He’s a tough kid but I don’t think he has any advantages.”
As far as training preparation, are you a guy that likes to get some tapes on your opponent and study his tendencies, and if so, what holes do you see in Mein’s game that you feel you can exploit?
“I’m not one of those guys that studies film. I’ve watched a couple of his fights, but I don’t go back and keep watching. I just leave that up to my coaches. They come up with a game plan for me and they can correct me. I try not to overthink too much, I just try to go in there and fight my fight.”
I don’t want to jump too far ahead, but if you are to get past Mein, what are some guys you would like to fight at 170? What do you think would be some intriguing match-ups for you?
(Laughing) “Ummm, I would like to concentrate on getting past Jordan first. There are a lot of fights out there at 170 pounds I would like to take. There are a lot of tough guys, but I would like to fight the best fighters. I like to be in tough fights and make myself get better, but there is no one in particular.”
Is welterweight your new home or are you just testing the waters? Do you plan on going back up to middleweight? What’s your plan in terms of divisions?
“Right now welterweight is my home. I don’t plan on going back up to 185 pounds. This is probably where I should have been for the most of my career. I see myself finishing my career at 170.”
I know personally growing up with two older brothers that a brother’s relationship in terms of competition can be very motivating, Does your brother Jim motivate you?
“Jim and I are best friends. I always want to make him better, and to make him better I try to be the best that I can be, and he does the same. I look out for him every fight. He certainly motivates me and pushes me in a positive way.”