After Loss in Featherweight Debut, Cole Miller Says “You’re Not Going To Have To Worry About Me Showing Up Flat” In Bout With Nam Phan
By Kelsey Mowatt
Earlier this year, Cole Miller finally made the drop featherweight, after competing for years in the UFC as an undersized lightweight. Despite the fact Miller compiled an Octagon record of 7-3 at 155 pounds, which included a submission win over T.J. O’Brien last August, the veteran knew it was time.
Unfortunately for Miller, his long awaited featherweight debut did not go according to plan, and the American Top Team fighter dropped a unanimous decision loss to Steven Siler in March. Although several months have past since the UFC on FX bout, the sting of the loss still resonates with the 28 year-old man known as “Magrinho.”
“I try not to think about that fight too much,” Miller told Full Contact Fighter. “I went and looked at the footage immediately after the fight, and I was like, I really thought I was doing this good and this good, but I just didn’t push the pace. I didn’t walk forward like I should have. I moved backwards and tried to counter a little too much. That’s not the style that has gotten me wins.”
Since arriving in the UFC, Miller has scored five wins by submission and one by TKO, in keeping with the aggressive style he cited.
“I think sometimes when you’re trying to be a better fighter or a more well rounded fighter, more diverse, and you’re starting to learn these things in training and you’re starting to get pretty good at them, you want to take those things and make them work in a fight,” said Miller. “I expected a lot of forward pressure from him and thought I would be able to move back and counter better than I did.”
“I don’t think I felt a whole lot of pressure,” Miller noted, while discussing whether the fact it was his featherweight debut contributed to his performance. “The way I had envisioned the fight wasn’t close to the way it went. I was flat; I didn’t feel any sense of urgency, and I wanted to. I don’t really now…my body just wouldn’t get going. I felt really strong but just couldn’t get moving fast. I don’t know if that had to with weight cut, putting it back on, not eating the type of food I’m used to eating. I don’t know…I felt fine.”
Despite the loss, Miller hasn’t changed his mind about competing at 145 pounds, as he heads into his August 4th bout with veteran Nam Phan.
“I’ll probably feel more confident going into this one with the weight cut,” said Miller. “Seeing as last time I did it, it wasn’t as hard to lose the weight as I thought it was going to be. So I think I have a little more confidence going into it like that.”
“I’ve got some urgency too,” Miller furthered. “My back’s up against the wall coming off of a loss. So I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about me showing up flat or not. I don’t have much of an option other than to bring it in a fight.”
In Phan (17-10), Miller (18-6) will face a fellow TUF vet, who has gone 1-3 in official UFC bouts since competing on the 12th Season of the show.
“I’m pretty excited about the fight; that was my first reaction,” Miller said. “I always think I do best when I go against guys that are martial artists or guys that are on a higher technical level. When it comes to striking, ground or both. Nam has a black belt in Karate, has some pretty crisp boxing, and is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That’s the kind of fight I thrive in.”
On paper at least, the bout seems to reflect one of the key reasons Miller decided to drop to featherweight, as the 6’1 tall fighter will have the reach and length advantage over the 5’6 Phan.
“Hopefully so,” Miller noted. “Having a reach like I do is awesome, but you have to make it work in a fight. Even though he’s just 5’6 he seems to have fairly long arms for his height, and a much broader back than I do, so I’m not thinking the reach is going to be as significant as the difference in height.”