Growing up in a family full of great wrestlers, Dan Miller had almost no choice but to become a tough competitor. “When we were kids I think I started wrestling when I was 6-years old,” said Miller. After several years of contests in wrestling Miller discovered the art of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu and was intrigued.
“We had been watching MMA and it looked like fun so I started training in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu” said Dan who began his tutelage under Jeff Miller at Planet Ju-Jitsu. Since then Miller has moved on to one of the top Ju-Jitsu schools in the country in the Renzo Gracie academy. Miller normally trains under Jamie Cruz, who he called a “Phenomenal Black Belt with great top control.”
Dan has been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to train with legendary Renzo Gracie himself. “It was pretty cool to learn from a legend like that.” Renzo was the coach of the IFL team which Miller was also a part of. Miller remembers the days of Renzo being in his corner fondly and feels he gained valuable experience with during that time.
“Collegiate wrestlers are some of the best athletes in the world just mentally tough and physically tough” was Miller’s opinion when asked if his wrestling base has helped him make his transition into MMA.
With great wrestling and submission skills he was an obvious choice to compete in the team based IFL organization. When asked how he felt about the team based format Miller replied “It was cool but I think MMA is an individual sport and that’s how it should be.”
One of Dan’s most impressive wins thus far was his standing guillotine choke against the IFL’s Dave Phillips. Bas Rutten called the choke "the tightest guillotine [he'd] ever seen” and the move got Miller submission of the night honors. “When I was choking him it felt like a normal guillotine, I felt like I was squeezing forever” said Miller. “When I got to look back at the video I was like oh crap"—a fitting reaction to such a devastating move.
Dan’s brother Jim is also a very talented MMA fighter who has actively competed in the IFL and now the UFC. Along with the Diaz brothers, the Lauzon’s, and the Rua’s, the Miller brothers are a force to be reckoned with in the sport of MMA. Dan spoke about what it is like to have his brother along with him in the same sport.
“It’s really nice to have your brother in there with you knowing what you go through and its awesome to have especially in your corner, having a family member right there in between rounds telling you what to do.”
Even though both brothers compete in MMA and have had the same trainers, Dan was quick to point out the differences in their fighting styles. “Jim’s a little more energetic and has a faster pace than I do, I have a slower game with more pressure just kind of slowed down a lot of that stems from us rolling together.”
There are several talented fighters coming out of the New Jersey area, such as newly crowned Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. When speaking about what makes New Jersey fighters special, Dan answered “They’re mentally and physically strong and basically guys that won’t give up.”
Like true brothers Jim and Dan were signed to the UFC at the same time and have both shown talent thus far.
Once Dan arrived in the UFC he racked up three straight wins to move up in his division. When Dan stepped up to the plate against the top fighters in his division he ran into what he called his toughest opponent to date in Chael Sonnen. “He kind of mauled me, outworked me, out-wrestled me I really didn’t have much to give back.”
Miller also noted, “I personally feel that he is going to beat Anderson and I think he has the skills to overwhelm Anderson.” Miller said he would love the opportunity to fight Chael again—possibly for the title.
Before he can get a chance at the title, Miller must face off against Michael “The Count” Bisping. “He’s got great striking, he has a relentless pace that he keeps, and he’s very well rounded. It’s a tough fight but it’s a tough fight that I can win and if I do win it puts me back on track.”
When asked what he needs to do to win Dan answered “I have to get after him and make him make mistakes and capitalize on it.” Miller is very excited for this fight and will be looking to get his career back on track after his last two losses in UFC.
Dan feels this is a must win fight and looks forward to seeing where his career takes him after the fight at UFC 114.
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