· Cole Miller ~ Recovered & Ready
When MMA Spot.net’s Chris McClain was tasked with catching up and interviewing UFC’s Cole Miller (14-3) he had no idea what to expect. What he found was a profoundly different fighter than the one once seen on The Ultimate Fighter television reality series. Miller, who up until recently has been rehabbing an injured knee, is supposedly back on track and ready to pick up his UFC career right where he left off, with a submission win over highly decorated black belt Jorge Gurgel. “Its 100%. Training is finally picking up again and I’m ready to fight.”
The American Top Team Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt primarily arrived on the scene as one of the stars of The Ultimate Fighter, but Miller’s career started much earlier than that. “My first encounter with mixed martial arts happened back in 1993, when Royce Gracie showed the world that the smaller guy can win, and that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the most effective martial art in the world. I had played baseball my whole life and never trained any martial arts until I was 19 years old. While I was working at a bagel bakery and attending college, a friend of mine, who came into my work, had two black eyes. I asked him about what happened to him and he told me he trained MMA. I was a huge fan, so I knew what that meant and soon began training. Four months later I had my first MMA fight and I haven’t stopped since.” Miller now splits his training time between American Top Team in Florida and Rush MMA in Georgia.
Cole told McClain that he sees a career in MMA as a mixed bag. “The positives are I get to do the sport I love in the best organization in the world. And I have fans and friends and a team that respects me. The negatives in MMA are that when you lose you get half as much as when you win. When MMA is your only career, it’s hard to make a living. I’ve been fortunate enough to have two good years in a row. The fact of the matter is, it lingers in the back of a fighters head that he may or may not have to struggle to make ends meet for months at a time.” All in all though, Miller is very happy doing what he is doing. He certainly will not be going into the TV business anytime soon as discovered when McClain asked Miller about any changes he would make to The Ultimate Fighter; “I wouldn’t know. I don’t really watch the show. And the people that produce The Ultimate Fighter are professional producers. All I do is fight, so I guess I wouldn’t know squat on that topic. (jokingly)”
When the conversation turned to the things he was most proud of, Miller would explain what his brown belt in BJJ means to him. “I train under Ricardo Liborio, and Marcos ‘parrumpinha’ De Matta. We don’t get belts handed out to us like some other schools and instructors do.” Fighting back in the U.S. also seems comforting to him, as he would recall his experiences and differences about competing in Japan. “Just the culture itself. The fans aren’t as die hard and vocal in Japan. They are quieter, and don’t know all of the fighters over there as well. MMA really isn’t as big over there as people say.” The 6’1 155 lbs. Miller also seemed to revel in the fact that his brother has gotten into the sport. “He started because I started, but he's become the fighter he is all on his own, he has his own style, mental approach, and work ethic.”
Miller has pushed himself hard to get where he has gotten in today’s MMA, and he has great adoration for some of his physically similar brethren; “I look up to guys like Royce, Sakuraba, Carlson Gracie, my instructors, the Diaz brothers, Nogueira, Dustin Hazlett, Miguel Torres, Micah Miller, Murilo Bustamante, Jorge Santiago, my teammates. Mostly the lanky guys.” But, asked about the other things he has in his life at the moment, he could only focus on one subject. “MMA is the only thing I do in life so I guess it’s the only thing affecting my life right now.”
From the past to the future, McClain would put Miller on the spot about what is around the corner for him in his UFC career and his current employer. “To be honest, I can’t say anything bad about the guy [Dana White]. He’s my boss. We don’t play golf on the weekends or anything but every encounter I’ve had with the guy he was cool.” With a rumored comeback fight against Ultimate Fighter bad boy Junie Browning, Miller categorically denied the rumor and talk about what he sees for the coming year. “As of now? Nope. No. Nada. I would really like to fight a contender by the end of 2009. I feel like I’ve been fighting a lot of new comers, gatekeepers, and opponents with a decent names, but I haven’t fought a contender, but I hope to reel off some wins this year and fight one by the end of 09.” …..Here’s to hoping that Cole Miller gets his wish.
Find out more on Cole Miller, and view is Technique videos at www.colemiller.com
by Chris McClain