Exclusive | Dan Miller "I’m tired of being the small guy in the ring"
UFC welterweight contender Dan Miller is a family man first and foremost. He is the father of two and has a close relationship with his brother, popular UFC fighter Jim Miller. The bond between brothers, especially the Millers is very strong.
“Jim and I have a great relationship. We care so much about each other”, Dan said. “Every time he gets in the Octagon it’s the same as if I’m in there. I think I still get more nervous for his fights than he does. I think it’s the same on both sides. When our coach wasn’t able to go when Jim fought Frankie Edgar I almost threw up in the bucket I was carrying as we headed out from behind the curtain. It’s like we’re in there with each other every time”.
Dan Miller’s record is 5-5 in the UFC and his opponents were some of the best in the world. Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping, Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia, and the list goes on. Interesting to note is that not a single one of those opponents who beat Dan were able to finish him. All of them brought unique skill sets, but there was one that stood above the rest according to Miller.
“The toughest for me was Chael Sonnen, I mean it was so hard to do anything. I tried to stand with him and he took me down like it was nothing. When he was on top I couldn’t get up and couldn’t get anything going. I think I caught him in like one guillotine and it wasn’t even really that close or that tight. He was a very tough fight for me”.
Dan has taken enough short notice fights that “Short Notice” Miller could be his nickname. All kidding aside, Dan is a gamer and company man much like Rich Franklin. His training with Mike Constantino at AMA keeps him grounded and focused on what he needs to do no matter how brief the preparation allowed might be.
“I was supposed to fight Okami and then Chael took that fight a few weeks out. Nate Marquardt was a week’s notice and I was supposed to fight someone else at that time. They called me like a week out because Akiyama couldn’t get out of the country due to the earthquake I believe. I can’t remember all of the specifics right now. It’s been a long day. I was training so it wasn’t so bad, but there were other ones that were really tough because I wasn’t really training for a fight. I’ll fight anyone because that’s my job you know. I’m a fighter”.
Dan’s fight at UFC on FX 4 against Ricardo Funch is his first in the UFC at 170 pounds. Being out-sized and outweighed by almost all of his middleweight opponents made the choice easy for himself and his coaching staff.
“I’m going to welterweight for this fight and this is hopefully a permanent change for me. This is hopefully going to rebuild my career. I’m tired of being the small guy in the ring. Maybe this drop will even it out”, Miller said.
Despite being the new guy on the block at 170, Miller doesn’t want “warm-up” fights
“I hope I get the best opponents right away”, Dan stated. “I want to prove that I’m the best and I have to do that by fighting the best. I’m not in this just to get wins. I want to beat the best guys in the world. There are some fantastic fighters at 170 pounds and I really want to get in there and mix it up with them “.
A black belt in jiu jitsu under Renzo Gracie standout Jamie Cruz, Miller understands the importance of dedication and hard work in specific disciplines. Recently there has been talk of implementing a belt system in MMA. Dan weighed in on the topic.
“It’s so hard because where do you draw the line”, Miller said. “Just because a guy is a fantastic jiu jitsu guy doesn’t mean he’s going to be a fantastic MMA fighter. Where do you draw that line on how good they are. Some guys train like crap and then go in the ring and the switch clicks and they go out there and whoop guys asses. Some guys train really well and don’t do anything in the ring. How do you give a guy a belt and then they can’t fight. I can’t see it happening. A great wrestler that doesn’t transfer well in to MMA. Do you give him a black belt because he’s like a national champion. It doesn’t make sense to me”.
The main event of UFC on FX 4 is Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida. Dan is excited to be fighting on this card and the main event is one he has been looking forward to.
“I think Guida will have a really tough night”, Miller said. “Clay is a great fighter, but Maynard’s hands are better and his wrestling is going to be better. Maynard will be able to keep it standing and beat him up on his feet. Not to say Guida can’t win because anything can happen, but Maynard is probably going to sprawl and brawl and get the win”.