Cerrone, whose beef with Miller derives from the fact that the American Top Team product defeated Leonard Garcia, a teammate and friend of Cerrone’s, says that he wants to avenge his friend’s defeat, while Miller refuses to back down, stating that he would gladly take on Cerrone to settle the feud that began back in 2008.
“Oh, that clown. I guess he doesn’t like me, or whatever, because I fought and beat Leonard (Garcia), and he expressed it in 2008, like a year after,” Miller explained on the latest HeavyMMA Podcast. “I saw him and I told him I liked his style and I was just asking him, ‘Who are you wanting to fight next?’ He was like, ‘Who do I want to fight next?” I was like, ‘Yeah, who do you want to be your next opponent?’ And he was like, ‘I want it to be you.’ The table kind of cleared out for a second, and I was pretty hot. Ever since then, every time we see each other, he says what’s on his mind, and I say what’s on mine.”
With the two 155 lb. fighters throwing comments back and forth at one another, displaying their great desire to meet up in the cage, some may have forgotten that Miller already has an upcoming engagement in the cage.
But “Magrinho” has not lost track of what has been placed before him, completely understanding what a fighter like Matt Wiman, who he will meet at “Ultimate Fight Night: Fight For The Troops 2” on January 22, brings to the table. Yet, while Miller sees the threats Wiman poses, he still believes he has the upper hand come fight night.
“I think I’m a little more technical than him, standing and on the ground,” Miller said. “Hopefully this newfound patience will shine through. I think that’s going to be a key to victory, as well. But he poses some problems, or threats, rather. He’s a guy that shows up in good shape. You know, I show up in good shape as well. He’s a hard fight for anybody. Nobody’s walked through him at all. He’s very good on the ground, very technical there. Although not the most technical guy on the feet, he throws with really ill intention and a lot of power in his strikes.”
Throughout his time in the UFC, Miller has struggled from time to time against fighters who can land power punches, as he believes Wiman can. His bouts with Jeremy Stephens and Efrain Escudero are the two cases that stand out the most.
In his most recent fight, however, Miller displayed stellar striking against a fighter with power and technique in Ross Pearson, earning a submission victory after nearly knocking out the British striker on his feet. The impressive display did not come as a surprise to Miller, who says he has always thought of his striking offense as good, though he knew his striking defense needed some work.
“I kind of feel that maybe it was my stand up defense, but I always felt my offense was solid,” Miller said. “If you go back to my earliest fights, you can see that my striking offense is pretty decent. It’s just my defense, which is more of a mental approach issue. Sometimes I get so focused on what I am doing that I kind of alleviate from the focus of what my opponent is trying to do to me. I’m thinking in too much of an offense frame of mind. That’s when I’ve got caught.”
“You can see in my last fight I had with Ross Pearson, I started changing some things up, I had a little bit more focus, and more patience. My biggest problem in the past is sometimes I am overly aggressive and definitely an impatient fighter. So I think having some patience is important.”
This Saturday at “UFC Fight Night: Fight For The Troops 2,” Miller has the opportunity to display his disciplined, patient style of striking that earned him a victory over Pearson last year. With a win, the lightweight can look forward to bigger and better match ups in the future, or, perhaps, he can finally settle the score with his nemesis Cerrone.
For now, however, he is just happy to be fighting in front of the troops this Saturday.
“When they did that first one out on that Marine base in California, I was like, ‘That’s so awesome. Hopefully they’ll do that again and maybe I’ll one day fight on a card like that.’ So it’s something that I was always interested in. I’m thrilled to be on the card. What a cool opportunity, right?”
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