After Successful Welterweight Debut, Dan Miller Says “It’s a Rejuvenation of my Career”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After facing several of the world’s best middleweight competitors, and putting together a 5-5 record with the UFC, Dan Miller decided it was time to make a change. That change meant moving down to compete as a welterweight, and at this past weekend’s UFC on FX card in Atlantic City, the 30 year-old fighter left little room to question his decision.
“The move down here it’s a rejuvenation of my career,” Miller told Full Contact Fighter, while discussing Friday’s third round, submission win over Ricardo Funch. “I’ve got this rebirth and I’m excited to start training and doing all this stuff. It’s definitely a new chapter in my life and in my career.”
The victory was Miller’s first since December, 2010, when he worked his way to a split decision win over fellow vet Joe Doersken at UFC 124. Since then, the AMA Fight Club competitor had dropped decisions to Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares, and although several of Miller’s Octagon losses have come against top contenders, another defeat would have been a significant setback.
“It was very, very important for my career,” said Miller (14-6). “Coming off two losses and making the move to 170, it kind of was a must win for me. I don’t know what would have happened if I lost. I don’t know if they would have cut me; I have no idea.”
“It was okay; there’s a lot I need to improve on,” Miller added while reflecting on the fight. “My cardio is one; I was pretty tired in the fight.”
Although Miller concedes he was fatigued in the bout, he doesn’t believe it had anything to do with the fact it was his welterweight debut.
“The cut wasn’t physically hard,” Miller noted. “It was more weight than I’ve ever had to lose but it wasn’t too bad. I think as I keep going it will get easier and easier.”
“I was competing at 185 pounds and I wasn’t a true 185 pound fighter,” Miller added, while discussing what lay behind his decision to drop to welterweight. “It made it hard to compete; I may have matched up as far as skill wise but a lot of guys had size on me…I kind of said screw it, let’s go down to 170 and ran it by my brother, my coaches and my wife and everyone agreed.”
And how did the 6’0 tall Miller feel in his welterweight debut in terms of size and strength?
“I didn’t expect to come in and be this super strong 170 pounder and outmuscle everybody; I’m not that physically strong,” said Miller. “But I definitely wasn’t being overpowered, and I don’t see too many people overpowering me in the Octagon at 170 pounds.”
Although Miller saw room for improvement in the fight, the New Jersey fighter admits that recording a submission win over an accomplished grappler like Funch was special.
“It felt good to tap a guy like Ricardo; he’s a jiu-jitsu black belt and a tough guy,” said the BJJ black belt while discussing the fight ending guillotine choke. “It definitely felt like that one was tight and that it was in. I was pretty confident that I was going to get him once I wrapped my arms around his neck; I could feel it was in good.”
Due to Miller’s Octagon experience, and the fact he’s already faced several of the promotion’s leading middleweights, chances are that the vet will face an established welterweight next.
“I think so; you never know what they’re thinking, but I’ll take any fight,” said Miller, who also reported that his son Daniel Jr. is doing well and that the family hopes to move ahead with plans for a kidney transplant . “I’m expecting a tough fight for my next fight, but it could be against pretty much anyone in the division.”