by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
You’d think Sparta, N.J. middleweight Dan Miller would welcome the opportunity, fists and all, to take a fight in snow-proof Florida.
“I’m not really a warm weather guy,” he counters. “I like the winter.”
In what’s become a pattern for the East Coast fighter, Miller stepped in on a month’s notice to replace an injured Alessio Sakara for a fight against WEC graduate Jake Rosholt. By now, the standard six to eight-week training camps are foreign to him.
“At this point, I’ll take the fight when they make the call,” he tells MMAWeekly Radio.
Miller is not the only one who’s had to make a quick decision. Half of the main event’s original draw, Hermes Franca, was forced to bow out after a knee injury. “The Ultimate Fighter” season seven winner, Amir Sadollah, was scratched due to yet another injury in the weeks before his fight. TUF 6 alum George Sotiropolous was replaced with Matt Veach after sustaining a rib injury.
That’s a lot of opportunity for guys like Miller. The call from Silva was an okay-go moment – he had gone for seconds during the holidays and knew he was in for a grueling month.
“Usually I’m sore as hell – can’t really move – but it’s something you have to do,” he says of the short camps. “I was coming off the holidays, I kind of slacked a little bit. I wasn’t in normal fight shape, but I wasn’t in bad shape.”
The 27-year-old Miller hopes to give Rosholt a chilly reception when they meet at Ultimate Fight Night 17. Rosholt’s wrestling credentials are impressive – a three-time NCAA Division I champ at the famed Oklahoma State University – but like a lot of young converts, his hands lag behind his ground skills. That’s something Miller plans to take advantage of.
“A big thing is throwing good straight punches,” Miller says. “So I think that’s going to work well for me in this fight.”
If he ends up on his back, Miller feels confident he can handle Rosholt’s skills on the ground.
“I always train off my back,” he said. “We knew there we were wrestlers coming in. We knew we would probably be able to take most people down. So it was getting comfortable fighting off our back. I’ve been doing that since I started.”
After a hard fought decision against tough veteran Matt Horwich, Miller hopes the fight delivers excitement. There’s no guarantee his fight will be shown on TV, but a good performance would bring more eyeballs, and more sponsorship money. It’s a big concession for the short notice, even as he won’t have much time to enjoy his victory. Brother Jim Miller is on tap for a tough fight against Gray Maynard at UFC 96. If he’s healthy, he’ll be back at the gym on Monday.
“It’s the level that I’m at right now,” Miller says. “I can hang with anyone that they bring to the table.”