Micah Miller Plans to Make UFC Brass “Come Around”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Heading into 2011, Micah Miller was poised to follow his older brother Cole right into the UFC organization. Equipped with a three fight win streak, and just one loss since 2009, many observers tapped the WEC vet as an early favorite to win the fourteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, when it was announced that Miller would compete in the preliminary round. After Miller’s attempt to secure a spot in the TUF 14 house was spoiled by Steven Siler, however, the American Top Team fighter closed out the year without competing again.
“I’m a goal orientated guy, and that was one of my goals to get into “The Ultimate Fighter”. Everything leading up to that, I really felt that it was my time,” said Miller (17-4), who had gone 7-2 after exiting from the WEC in 2008. “I had jumped around from small shows to big shows, and I had been waiting for an Ultimate Fighter at 145…I felt like I deserved to be on the show. I had been working my ass off for a long time. When I lost I had to refocus everything. All my sights had been set on that goal, and stuff I wanted to do in the UFC, so when it didn’t work out for me I had to reassess where I wanted to go from there.”
The TUF loss aside, Miller has landed another notable opportunity to further his ranking, as the 25 year-old-fighter will face Bellator vet Georgi Karkhanyan for his Tachi Palace Fights featherweight belt tonight.
“I’m very excited,” Miller told FCF. “It’s something that I could really get up for. The thing was that I had this BS showing on “The Ultimate Fighter;” I want to fight the best guys as possible…That was a setback, but I was in Tachi before, and that loss didn’t set me that far back. I’m pretty much where I left off. So I’m really excited to fight Georgi for sure.”
Karakhanyan (17-3) has also won three straight fights heading into TPF 12, and in his last ten appearances, the only men to defeat the 26 year-old have been Bellator champion Joe Warren and the rising Patricio Freire.
“I think he’s a good fighter,” Miller acknowledged when asked to evaluate the TPF champion. “I respect him a lot; more than a lot of guys. He’s a really well rounded fighter. He trains in everything. He’s a brown belt in jiu-jitsu; he strikes and wrestles, and trains with a good team. Our styles are similar so I think it’s going to make for a good fight.”
While Miller and Karakhanyan carry similar records, one sizeable discrepancy between the two featherweights is in height, as Miller is 6’1 while his opponent is 5’8.
“It’s always a factor, it’s always a big factor,” said Miller, while discussing the reach and range advantage he’ll enjoy. “A lot of guys will never be comfortable fighting a 6’0 tall dude at that weight class. Guys like me, Cole, George Roop, you just don’t see that body type at this weight class very often. It always affects how I fight; I try to fight long standing or on the ground. It will be a lot different for him than facing shorter guys like Patricio Freire or Joe Warren. It will be interesting.”
While the TPF serves as a feeder organization for the UFC, Miller is far from convinced that a championship win Friday, will result in call up from Zuffa.
“I’m not even looking at that,” Miller said. “To be honest, I don’t think the people in the UFC think I’m very good. Even though we let them know that I had an illness for my “Ultimate Fighter” fight. I still don’t think that they’re sold on me, but I know how good I am, so they’re going to come around. I just need to put the performances together. I’m in no way expecting a call from them when I beat George.”
And Miller’s view on Cole’s recent unanimous decision loss to Siler? At the recent UFC on FX card in Australia?
“I thought it was fair,” said Miller, when asked to evaluate the judge’s scoring. “I thought he had the first two rounds and Cole got the last one….It’s tough. I don’t think Cole and I have fought this way, one week apart. So it’s been hard to really register it because I’ve been so focused on what I have to do next Friday. It hasn’t really processed a whole lot.”
Photo via American Top Team