UFC 128: Dan Miller fights under the cloud of human tragedy (again)

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New Jersey's own Dan Miller has been promoted to the televised portion of this Saturday night's UFC 128: "Shogun vs. Jones" pay-per-view fight card from the Prudential Center in downtown Newark.

But don't expect him to be jumping for joy in spite of his opportunity to take on top contender Nate Marquardt.

That's because Miller was called into action when Marquardt's original opponent, Yoshihiro Akiyama, was forced to withdraw from the event and return to Japan to help his friends and family suffering from the effects of last week's devastating earthquake/tsunami combination.

And it's not the first time the AMA Fight Club product has been forced to compete under a cloud of tragedy.

Prior to his UFC 98 fight against Chael Sonnen, Miller and his wife lost their newborn daughter shortly after she was born. It didn't stop him from competing, but he was unable to escape Las Vegas with a win.

Then, in circumstances no parent should ever be subjected to, he was once again afflicted with a family crisis when his four-month-old son, Danny Jr., battled a genetic kidney disease that had the tot clinging to life just days before his UFC 114 fight against Michael Bisping.

He was unable to get past "The Count" on fight night, but has since battled back and climbed out of an 0-3 hole to win two straight contests and keep himself employed.

And to grind out a win over Marquardt on just a few days notice would be nothing short of "Great" for his career. But as he explained at yesterday's UFC 128 pre-fight press conference, he hasn't forgotten why he's there.

"It's tough. My heart goes out to the Japanese people. I'm just going to take this opportunity the UFC gave me and try to make the best of it. I feel great. I'm physically ready, mentally ready. I just want to get in there. I'm tired of training. It's time to get in there. I'm anxious and ready to get going."

Miller was originally slated to face fellow middleweight Nick Catone, who remains on the "Shogun vs. Jones" preliminary card to battle Costantinos Philippou.

No matter the outcome on March 19, it's clear the New Jersey Spartan and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is ready to fight anyone, anytime and under any circumstances.

And further proof there's more to being a "fighter" than what takes place inside the Octagon.

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