Dan Miller “Chomping at the Bit” to Fight Again, Says There’s No “Clear Advantage Anywhere” In UFC 158 Bout With Jordan Mein
By Kelsey Mowatt
Dan Miller may have made a successful move to the welterweight division in 2012 and scored a submission win over Ricardo Funch last June, but at the end of the day, the veteran was only able to compete once. Miller was scheduled to fight Sean Pierson at UFC 152 last September, however, the former middleweight withdrew when word arrived that his son would be receiving his long awaited kidney transplant.
By the time Miller steps into the Octagon on March 16th to fight Strikeforce vet Jordan Mein, nearly nine months will have gone by since the New Jersey fighter competed.
“Yeah definitely; I’m chomping at the bit now,” Miller said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing his layoff between bouts. “I just want to get back into the ring, back into the Octagon, fight, and get another fight, and continue on.”
Prior to his bout with Funch, approximately ten months had elapsed since Miller dropped a unanimous decision loss to Rousimar Palhares at UFC 134. Although some veterans welcome some time off after years of competing, as a way to recharge their batteries and heal up some injuries, the 31 year-old Miller says being on the sidelines isn’t for him.
“I don’t like it; I actually hate it,” said Miller. “But there was stuff going on so it was kind of unavoidable for me right now…I feel rusty coming back and I would rather keep fighting and keep making money; keep going. I like to stay active.”
This time around, however, Miller headed into his layoff armed with a pivotal win, as his victory over Funch followed back-to-back losses he incurred versus the aforementioned Palhares and Nate Marquardt.
“Yeah, but I got the win, got the taste of winning again and then kind of went through it again,” said Miller. “It just didn’t work out.”
Now Miller will look to build on his first win at 170 pounds, which came after the vet forged a reputation for being one of the most resilient and competitive middleweights in the UFC. Although Miller earned plenty of praise for the gritty performances he put up against former middleweight contenders like Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia, ultimately, he decided a change was needed.
“Part of me feels like I probably should have done it a long time ago,” Miller noted, while discussing his decision to move down to welterweight. “I’m not big enough for 185 pounds and the guys fighting there are too big and too strong.”
“But again, I was comfortable, I felt pretty good. I don’t think I ever got destroyed, so it was one of those things where it was hard to make that commitment,” Miller furthered. “I was doing okay, and I kind of wanted to stay there, to kind of redeem myself after a couple of losses. I kind of didn’t want to move down; it was kind of a pride thing.”
In Mein (26-8), Miller will take on not only of one of Canada’s top fighters, but one of the fastest rising competitors in the welterweight division. The only men to defeat the 23 year-old Mein in his last ten fights are UFC competitors Tyron Woodley and Jason High, and during that run the powerful striker has defeated vets like Josh Burkman, Joe Riggs, Marius Zaromskis and most recently Forrest Petz.
“I had heard about him, just from fighting in Strikeforce…I knew he was a tough kid,” said Miller while discussing Mein. “It’s going to be a tough fight; he’s very well rounded and he’s a really good striker. I had heard of him and now I’ve watched film on him…he’s a really tough kid.”
“I think that’s an over generalization. Either one of us can win at any point of the game,” the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt added, when asked to comment on the notion that the bout is a “striker vs. grappler” match-up. “We’re well matched up. I have a slight advantage on the ground, and he has an advantage on the feet, but I’ve been working very, very hard on my striking…I don’t think there’s any clear advantage anywhere.”
UFC 158 will take place March 16th at Montreal’s Bell Centre.