It wasn’t all that long ago that Dan Miller’s career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship seemed bleak.
After three losses – albeit against top competition in former title challengers Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia, and “The Ultimate Fighter” season three winner Michael Bisping – Miller’s career in the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion seemed anything but sure.
A victory over John Salter not only got him back on the winning track, but also saved Miller from receiving his walking papers, sparking hopes to one day reclaim contender status within the juggernaut promotion.
While many people counted the New Jersey native out, it was the head honchos of the UFC that had faith in him all along. Defeating the likes of Sonnen, Maia, or Bisping is a tall task, and though Miller came up short on points in each bout, he had his moments.
“I’m happy that (the UFC is) happy with the way I fight, and it’s good to still be in the UFC,” the 29-year-old said on MMAWeekly Radio.
Coming off of one loss and bouncing back in an ultra-competitive division is daunting enough, however, Miller’s mental toughness was put to the test when one turned to two, and two turned into three. Many fighters would crumble under the pressure, but not Miller.
Instead, when it came down to face Salter, who was a 5-1 prospect in the 185-pound division at the time, Miller did what he always does… just fight.
“I was pretty relaxed going into the fight,” he said. “I didn’t try to put the pressure of that could have been my last fight in the UFC if I had lost to him. I just tried to just go in there and have fun and fight.”
With a win under his belt, Miller is now preparing for his toughest task to date. He will next take on Joe Doerksen, one of the true veterans of the sport, in his home country of Canada at UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2, which takes place at the Bell Centre in Montreal this Saturday.
Doerksen, Sonnen, Maia, whoever it is, it doesn’t matter to Miller. The task is still the same. Win.
“I know I have a tough task in front of me and I’m excited to fight Joe,” he said of the native Canadian.
“He’s a real tough guy and he’s a veteran of the sport.
“I go into every fight the same way, doesn’t matter who it is. I look at it as my toughest task. This is going to be my toughest fight to date and I’m just going to go in there and fight the way I fight, and make him fight my fight. His style doesn’t really play into it.”