Hostile Territory: Exclusive MMAmania.com interview with UFC 134's Dan Miller

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If there's something strange in the MMA world, who ya' gonna call?

Dan Miller.

The durable UFC middleweight certainly ain't afraid of no short notice fights. 

Miller has built a reputation as one of the most dependable men in the entire UFC. In fact, three of his last four fights have been accepted either on short notice or had a last minute opponent change.

His "any fight at any time, anywhere" attitude hasn't exactly been kind to his record, pitting him against top middleweights like Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping, but the former International Fight League (IFL) middleweight champion wouldn't have it any other way.

The UFC again came calling when leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares needed an opponent in Brazil for UFC 134 tonight (Aug. 27, 2011) and Miller didn't even think twice. He recently spoke with MMAmania.com about his mentality of taking any fight and what it will be like walking into hostile territory:

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're stepping in there against Rousimar Palhares, an absolutely nasty leg lock guy. Now that you've had a chance to look over his fight. What do you feel makes his leg locks so dangerous?

Dan Miller: It is special. When you see somebody like that, that well-versed at that aspect like leg locks, you don't see it that often. So when you do see it, it is special. It's one of those things where there's really not that many guys you can train with that are that well versed with leg locks. I think that's why a lot of guys have trouble defending him because they just don't see them and he comes from all these different angles and who do you have to train with that's like that?

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Going into this fight, he is known as primarily a leg lock guy. Do you feel that because you focus on everything that it's going to give you a bigger advantage coming in?

Dan Miller: I think yeah, I think I'm a little more well-rounded than him and I think that'll give me an advantage. I feel comfortable going to the ground with him. He's got very, very good jiu-jitsu but I've trained against guys who are great jiu-jitsu guys and I've fought in the UFC against really good jiu-jitsu guys. I feel comfortable going into this fight with him on the ground and I'm gonna try do my best to finish him. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're known as a guy that takes all the fights on short notice. You took, this one on short notice as well but seven weeks for you, that's practically nothing right?

Dan Miller: Yeah basically. I had already been in the gym helping Jim get ready for his fight and there was basically a full camp helping him get ready.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're not afraid of anything. You'll take any fight on short notice and it doesn't seem to matter if you're facing a tough Brazilian in Brazil. I'm sure the UFC really appreciates that.

Dan Miller: Well, when we first started, that's what we told them. I would fight anyone at any time. It didn't matter where it was, how long it was and I'm trying to live up to that.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about why you're able to do that and a lot of other fighters will turn down a fight if they're not given enough time to prepare. What is it that makes you special that you can do that, you can step up and be that guy. 

Dan Miller: I don't really know. Usually I can't understand why guys would turn fights down. I just don't understand that. The UFC is giving you an opportunity to go in there and fight. That's why I do it. I don't do it for the fame. I don't do it for the money. I enjoy all of this. I enjoy the training, I enjoy the fight. When I'm given an opportunity to fight, that's awesome and I take advantage of that. I really, a lot of times I don't understand why guys turn fights down. I don't know. That's just a difference in our mentality I guess.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What do you think about going into hostile territory? Most of your fights have taken place in America and now you're going into Brazil against a Brazilian. The crowd is going to almost certainly be against you. Can you explain what you're expecting?

Dan Miller: I'm trying to go into this fight and just concentrate on Rousimar. I'm gonna have a hard enough time with the fight with just him. If I start worrying about the crowd and where I'm fighting and everything, it's gonna make this fight that much harder. Especially for this fight, I just have to concentrate on the fight. I'm going to try not to let the crowd get into it and get involved but I'm expecting to be the enemy. I'm expecting to get booed and it doesn't really bother me. I've been on the opposite end but I try not to let it bother me at all.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I read some interviews with your coach Mike Constantino. He talked about how when your team prepares for a fight, you primarily focus on gameplanning the first round because you can make adjustments for the later rounds if you have to. Can you talk about the way you prepare for fights and focusing on that perfect first round?

Dan Miller: Going into a fight, 90% of a fight is mental and if you only worry about that first round, that makes it a lot easier. I want to try to go in there and have a good, hard first round, set the pace and dictate the fight, make the fight go where we want it to go. If we're having any trouble, we'll make adjustments if it's different than we expected and we'll be able to adapt for the second and third round if need be. That first round is very important. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You mentioned that you were ready for this fight because you'd been helping your brother Jim. How's he feeling now after the loss to Ben Henderson? That had to be pretty devastating. 

Dan Miller: He's disappointed but Jim's a professional and he's a warrior. He's the toughest kid I know and he'll be back. He'll be back better than ever and I guarantee he'll be back where he was fighting for a title soon. He'll be making the trip to be in my corner on Saturday night. 

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): My last question I've got for you is how would you like to see this fight play out on Saturday night?

Dan Miller: If it were up to me, it would be a quick fight ending with me earning a submission or a knockout but I'm expecting Rousimar to come out as the best Rousimar we've ever seen and I'm expecting a war. I'm training for everything, every aspect of the game and I expect him to come out and really give it to me. 

Will Miller's eagerness be rewarded with a thrilling victory tonight? Or will his leg become yet another trophy on Rousimar Palhares' wall?

Sound off, Maniacs!

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