Dan Miller vs. Jordan Mein: Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Veteran fighter Dan Miller will welcome top young Canadian welterweight Jordan Mein into the UFC in March at UFC 158 in Montreal. This fight represents the opposite ends of the mixed martial arts spectrum, as the tough and experienced Miller will try to hold his position in his career, while Mein is the young fighter making his debut in the top show.
The older half of the famous fighting Miller brothers will be fighting for only the second time at welterweight, following a debut submission win against Ricardo Funch in June. Mein comes from a fighting family as well, as his father and teacher Lee Mein has fought the likes of Dan Severn, Krzysztof Soszynski, Jeff Monson and Rolles Gracie in his career.
Here is a complete head-to-toe breakdown.
While it's always hard to compare how a young up-and-comer measures up against a fighter who has faced some of the very best, I am confident in giving the striking edge to Mein.
With one knockout in 21 fights, striking has never been the most dangerous part of Miller's game. However, it is a strength.
Miller uses his striking to set up his deadly submission game, with his leg kicks being his most effective weapon. Miller is a wrestler first and foremost, and he will always look to land the submission over that knockout punch.
Mein is one of those young, new-breed fighters who has grown up training all aspects of mixed martial arts equally, but make no mistake—striking is the hallmark of his game.
A tall and lanky welterweight, Mein uses his reach as well as anyone short of Jon Jones, but he won't have the advantage he usually does in this fight against the former middleweight Miller.
The key advantage for Mein comes from his striking not being limited to his hands and feet. He has some of the most effective elbows and knee strikes of anyone in the division, as we saw in his fight against Evangelista Santos and again in his last fight against Forrest Petz. He also has fantastic footwork to dart in and out of range with ease.
The blows come from all angles, and he should force Miller into taking him down early.
While Mein pulls a slight edge in the striking department, Miller holds a considerable edge in the wrestling aspect of the game.
He began wrestling in his youth before he became involved in jiu-jitsu, and it is the base of his all-around game. Miller has locked up with some of the very best wrestlers in the middleweight division and held his own, so I don't think Mein has much to offer here.
Mein's biggest challenge and focus will be in defending the takedown and trying to keep this fight on the feet as much as possible. If Miller successfully jacks his weight back up after the weigh-ins, then things will be even tougher for the young Canadian.
Mein was snuffed out very effectively in a split-decision loss to Tyron Woodley last year. Hopefully he has improved since then.
Grappling and Submissions
Dan Miller is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with nine of his 14 wins coming via submission. Meanwhile, he has never been tapped out himself in his career.
A quick glance at Miller's record shows he does not discriminate in how he ruins your day, either, as he has recorded wins via armbar, guillotine choke, triangle choke, rear naked choke, kneebar and ninja choke. You name it, he's slapped it on to some degree of success against some high-level fighters.
This does not bode well for Mein, and although he has seven submission wins himself, they all occurred in the small regional shows against lesser competition.
Also of note is that out of his eight losses, four have come via submission, so he has to know that Miller is using that as his blueprint to victory. Mein has worked diligently on rounding out his game and has not been submitted in 20 fights since 2008.
Intangibles and What's at Stake
There are many intangibles in play in this fight, none more important than the state of mind that Miller has had leading up to this fight. It is no secret that he lives with challenges in his personal life with the fragile health of his young son.
Danny Jr. underwent a successful kidney transplant in September, so Miller has had a full camp and may be in the best place he has been for quite some time.
With adversity like that in your life, even a cage fight seems like a party, and Miller has no pressure on him at all. He also has the experience advantage on his side and knows what is ahead of him when the show starts in Montreal.
Mein, on the other hand, is entering unknown territory. Yes, he is a veteran of 34 professional fights and has been at this since he was a pup, but the UFC is a different beast altogether. Brighter, hotter lights, more expectation, more pressure to perform and much tougher fighters all await a UFC debut. Only time will tell if Mein is totally ready.
On the other hand, Mein comes from a fighting background and has been bred for this moment all his life. He has been waiting for this opportunity and has youth and enthusiasm on his side. He also has home country support, as his debut will be fought in Canada, in front of fans who know and have followed Mein for years.
This one is a tossup .
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report UFC and regular contributor to Sportsnet.ca's UFC section. Follow him on Twitter @wakafightermma.