Dan Miller “Needs Win” Over Rousimar Palhares at UFC 134
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Dan Miller has forged a reputation for being one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s gamest and most resilient fighters, evidenced by a record that includes competitive bouts with some of the promotion’s top middleweights, the 31 year-old vet understands that his career might be at a cross roads.
After earning back-to-back victories over John Salter and Joe Doerksen in 2010, Miller failed to defeat Nate Marquardt in March, leaving his Octagon record at 5-4. While Miller scored points with the promotion for taking the Marquardt fight on short notice, and as a result, his UFC position may not be on the line when he faces Rousimar Palhares on August 27th, another loss would be a significant setback nonetheless.
“It’s very important for my career to get a win over Rousimar,” said Miller, who had won three straight fights before incurring decision losses to Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping. “He’s a very talented fighter and he’s a decent name. He’s someone that can really help my career, build me back up; I need this win.”
To date, Palhares has largely lived up to the hype that accompanied his Octagon arrival in 2008, as the renowned submission artist has gone 5-2 during his UFC tenure, with his only losses coming against the aforementioned Marquardt and Dan Henderson. In other words, a win over Palhares would go a long ways in re-establishing Miller as the contender he believes he can be.
“I’m really excited,” Miller added while discussing his UFC 134 bout with Palhares. “He’s a really good opponent; he’s a great fighter. He’s a very, very good fighter on the ground and he’s really good at getting fights to the ground. I’ve always wanted to fight in Brazil too, so really, I can’t wait.”
In particular, Palhares’s infamous reputation for ending fights with leg locks has proven to be well founded, as three of his five UFC victories have come via heel hook.
“It’s something that he brings to the table,” Miller told FCF. “I’ve gotten better at defending leg locks just through knowledge. Doing a lot of leg locks so I know what’s involved, so yeah, I’ve been working on that a lot.”
While Miller is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the Renzo Gracie system, and has scored several submission wins of his own, one would think the 6’0 feet tall middleweight might look to utilize his reach and strike against the much shorter, 5’8 Palhares.
“I’m just going to go in and fight,” said Miller. “I feel comfortable going to the ground with him, especially from the top, so whatever happens. I do have an advantage at standing but we’ll see what happens.”
Miller made headlines in 2010 not only for a busy schedule, which saw him fight four times during the year, but because he was forced to do so while taking care of his ill son.
“There was a lot going on last year but there’s still a lot going on,” said Miller while discussing his family and the well documented challenges they’ve faced. “I make no excuses for any of my fights; this is my life…It is what it is. Things are getting better though.”
Miller reported to FCF that he’s still hoping to get four fights in for the 2011 campaign, despite the fact that his UFC 134 tilt will be just his second since he faced Marquardt earlier in the year. As it turns out, Miller was the last man to fight Marquardt before he was dismissed from the promotion, after issues related to his hormone replacement therapy prevented him from fighting as scheduled on June 26th.
“When we fought everything was legal,” said Miller, while discussing his bout with the former UFC competitor. “I have no complaints; he beat me fair and square. I really have no comment on his dismissal.”
Just a few days prior to UFC 134, Miller’s brother Jim will take on former WEC champion Ben Henderson at the UFC’s Live on Versus 5 event on August 14th. A win for Dan’s younger sibling would extend his winning streak to eight and very likely entrench a title shot.
“I don’t really worry about Jim,” said Miller. “He’s a fantastic fighter; he’s got so much better as a fighter. Ben’s a tough kid but I just can’t see where he can beat Jim, at any part of the game, I think Jim can beat him. It’s going to be tough for Jim to finish him but I think it’s a very winnable fight for him.”