Last night Dan Miller, the older brother of UFC lightweight Jim Miller, made his debut in the UFC’s welterweight division on UFC on FX 4. The result was a Submission of the Night for Miller who netted an extra 50K with the guillotine finish of Ricardo Funch in the third round.
Miller has been down a tough road in his UFC career, but the change to welterweight could rejuvenate things for the former IFL middleweight champ. “I was 185 for a long time, and I just kept getting into, big strong guys and it was hard to compete with that. I had to match skill against skill, but they had size and strength on me.” Though Miller said the last time he weighed 170 lbs was probably high school, he said the weight cut wasn’t as hard as he thought it’d be and he’s confident it’ll get easier to make 170 as time progresses.
As for his debut in the weight class, Miller knew patience was the only way he’d be able to get the submission. In the early rounds of the fight, Miller kept working for the guillotine but wasn’t able to sink it in until his second attempt at it in the 3rd round of the fight. For the highlight reel finish, Miller said, “We knew from previous films, from previous fights of his, that the guillotine was gonna be there. And, you know, I was fishing for it. He kept dropping his head and I kept almost getting it, and almost getting it, and he kept fighting out of it, but I knew eventually I was going to land it.”
Miller dropped from middleweight to welterweight following consecutive losses to Rousimar Palhares and Nate Marquardt. Both losses were by unanimous decision and took Miller’s overall record at middleweight to 5-5. The win was just what Miller needed to start with a fresh slate. “Coming off the 2 losses, it was just the pressure of getting a win,” he said. “I fight to win. I fight to finish people and there’s personal pressure too. It’s just…I wanna go in and I wanna win. There’s a little bit of pressure, but I try to put that in the back of my head, but sometimes that’s hard.”
Ten months spanned from the time Miller fought Palhares to the time he fought Funch. Following his win on UFC on FX 4, Miller doesn’t want to wait that long again to get back in the Octagon. “I would like to fight real soon. You know I’m gonna get back in the gym soon. I want get back in there. Iwant to stay active. I don’t want this 10 months off again. I wanna get, I just want to get back in there. I don’t care who it is, I just wanna fight again.”
In fact when MMA Fight Corner asked Miller his thoughts on fighting welterweight veteran Brian Ebersole, Miller was game for the idea. “I think it’d be a fun fight. He’s a really tough guy and a crafty vet, and he’s got a lot of good skills everywhere. I think we’d match up well and it’d be a really good fight.”
With his win over Funch, Miller finally gets his UFC record over .500. It could be the glass is finally looking like it’s half full for Miller at welterweight. As far as his outlook on what’s to come, “I’m gonna come in and just fight as hard as I did at 185. And hopefully, I’m not the smallest guy in the division and I can string some wins together and make a run at it.”
The UFC on FX 4 fight card definitely had a line-up of what promised to be non-stop action. Except the main event, Gray Maynard vs Clay Guida, was such a let down, even Dana White tweeted his disdain for Guida’s running tactics during the fight. Miller summed it up as: “Interesting…it was an interesting gameplan. It wasn’t the most exciting fight I’ve ever seen, but I understand where he comes from. I was at the post-fight presser and [Guida] said ‘I don’t want to be that rock ’em sock ’em robot.’ He didn’t want to stand in front of Gray and get hit, ’cause Gray hits hard. He could take him out with one punch. So, I kind of understand where [Guida] comes from. You go in there, you’re an entertainer, but you gotta fight. It’s a tough call.”
When all is said and done, it’s hard not to root for Dan Miller. After he won, the New Jersey native thanked the fans at Revel in Atlantic City for having supported his family’s charity drives for his son. His two and half year-old son, Daniel Jr or Danny, has battled polycystic kidney disease since birth. The Daniel James Miller Foundation was set up by Dan and his wife Kristen to help the family pay for his daily dialysis and his physical therapy. About six months ago, the family said Danny was due to have a kidney transplant, but it was postponed so Danny can get to full health before undergoing the surgery. To donate, visit the Daniel James Miller Foundation’s website.