Champions of The Future Part 1: WEC and DREAM Veteran Micah Miller

Shawn SmithCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2009

At the ripe young age of 22, it is hard to refer to anyone as a veteran of the sport but with 13 professional bouts under his belt, Micah Miller is well on his way to veteran status. 

Micah recently competed in the first round of the DREAM 7 Featherweight Grand-Prix coming up short in a controversial loss to Yoshiro Maeda. Recently I had the pleasure of getting in contact with Micah Miller for a Bleacher Report Exclusive interview! Enjoy!

Hello Micah, I would just like to thank you for doing this interview. Let’s get started

1. First question I have is how did you get into mixed martial arts?

I started wrestling because I didn’t make the basketball team. I wasn’t really a team sport guy anyway so it worked out. I had seen UFC 1 when I was younger but I didn’t understand Jiu-Jitsu like everyone else that watched it so I became bored watching it and left the room. 

It wasn’t until I was about 15-years-old until I saw pride 22 championship chaos that I became a fan of the sport. I really got into the sport from then on, and started becoming more educated on the sport. My bro started training with Cam McHargue in Macon, Georgia about a year later, and I followed soon after.

2. You currently train with American Top Team, one of the top mixed martial arts gyms in the world. Can you tell us how this came about and what the experience of training with so many top tier competitors is like?

Being able to train at American top team is truly an honor, and a privilege I don’t take lightly. I moved to south Florida in April 2007 to train and live with my brother Cole (of Ultimate Fighter fame). Training with all of the ATT all-stars is great, because they are constantly pushing you to get better, and they are always willing to teach you something new.

3. Were you a big fan of the sport growing up? And if so who were some of your favorite fighters?

I was a fan first. Kazushi Sakuraba was one of my favorites. he was very creative in the ring and i liked his style. Yves Edwards, Jens Pulver, and B.J Penn were also some fighters that I looked up to.

4. The experience of a first fight can be very intimidating, especially when it comes only two short months after your 19th birthday. Can you tell us about the experience of your first fight?

Well my first fight was two weeks after my 18th birthday. Wrestling season had just ended, so I was in good shape and ready to compete. I wasn’t nervous because I had just been competing for two months prior in wrestling. I have actually been more nervous for some of my pro fights. i went out there and fought another first timer, so it was a good experience for both of us.

5. What goes through your head before a fight? Do you have any special techniques or rituals that you perform?

I just try to clear my mind and relax. I have supreme confidence in my training, so when I get in the ring, I know that I am going to do what I’ve trained to do.

4. Your last fight was at DREAM 7 against Japanese standout Yoshiro Maeda. You came out and represented yourself well showing a lot of great Jiu-Jittsu technique coming close on many submission attempts, and using your rubber guard to nullify much of Maeda’s offense. 

Many fans thought that you should have been given the victory in this fight, however, the judge’s decision went to Maeda. Sherdog stated that you dissatisfied with the outcome of the fight and thought that maybe you should have been given the decision because of control. What do you think you could or should have done differently to try and make the decision more decisive in your favor?

I don’t know that I could have done anything to win a decision, maybe be on top more, but that’s just how it goes when you fight a Japanese fighter in Japan. People have been talking about how they thought I did more on the ground, which is true, but I did more on the feet as well. Neither of us landed anything significant, but I landed more punches, kicks, threw some good knees in the Thai clinch, and really had him backing up, especially in the second round.

5. Can you tell us about your experience fighting in Japan and how it compares with fighting in the United States?

Fighting in Japan was a whole new experience for me. I have never been out of the country, so it was a cool opportunity to experience a new culture. The fighters are portrayed as larger than life celebrities over there, and really make you feel special.

6. Which do you prefer?

I like the rules and production in Japan better, but the travel is a pain in the butt!

7. What is next for Micah Miller? Do you have any more fights on your DREAM contract and if not where would you like to fight next?

I may fight somewhere before I fight in dream again, but I have been told that I will be brought back. I feel that I won my last fight, so I want to go to Dream and win by knockout or submission so there is no doubt.

8. Now I thought we’d end with a couple of more personal questions to let the MMA fans of North America get to know you a little bit better:

a) Last movie you saw?

Watchmen. The day before that I saw Revolutionary Road. I like a wide range of movies. Both were good, especially Revolutionary Road.

b) Last song you put on your I-pod?

"Icky Thump" by the White Stripes

c) Last video game you really got into?

I am always into Rock Band, but I have been rocking Spiderman: Web of Shadows here lately.

8. d) What do you do in your spare time? Hobbies?

I am a big sports fan so I like to go to the beach and throw the football. I also like to play basketball. I have a computer that I like to upgrade and tinker with. I cook all the time, but I am really interested in learning how to do it well.

9. One last but vital question. Can you explain the choice to wear long pants in your last fight? Does it have something to do with grip for submission techniques?

It does help with grip a little bit, but I like wearing them for stand up too. I just feel more comfortable in them

Thank you again Micah for the interview.