Dan Miller's Back Is Against the Wall Against Michael Bisping at UFC 114

via www.mmabay.co.uk

Some interesting features on Dan Miller in advance of his UFC 114 co-main event bout against hate 'em or hate 'em Brit quote-machine Michael Bisping. MMA Junkie gets Miller talking about his promotional skills or lack of them:

"I usually let my fists do the talking," Miller said. "But he does a really good job of hyping fights up, and I think you need that. But I'm just not very good at it. I'm not a good smack-talker. I'm just not quick enough to come up with anything.

"He's very good at that; he's very good at promoting his fights and making people want to watch his fights. That's something that I lack, and that's something I need to work on: my showmanship, I guess it would be. But it's just not my style or my personality."

Franklin McNeil has a very good piece that reveals some of the personal heart break Miller and his wife have endured:

He and his wife, Kristen, lost their first child at birth last year. It's an emotional ordeal from which neither parent has yet recovered.

The death of their daughter came days before Miller was scheduled to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 98 in May 2009. Miller could have pulled out of the bout but opted to fulfill his contractual obligation and provide for his grieving wife.

...

The fight with Maia at UFC 109 would take place a few weeks after the birth of the Miller's second child, Daniel. While most new fathers are filled with excitement over the birth of their child, Miller's joy has been temperate.

Daniel has not had an easy transition into this world, and he is fighting for his life.

...

While Daniel still has a long fight ahead, he is making progress. The family has opted not to disclose the nature of Daniel's illness, preferring instead to say that he is very sick.

McNeil also talks about the dislocated thumb that Miller suffered in the first round of his decision loss to Demian Maia.

Heavy.com talks with Miller about his preparations for Bisping:

Heavy MMA: Have you done anything different for this fight? Have you brought in any new training partners to mimic the style of Bisping?

Dan Miller: Not really. I've been just kind of training with everyone at AMA. I think we have a phenomenal team. I'm basically just trying to get better. I don't bring in guys to emulate him. I don't think there's anyone that can fight like Bisping other than, you know, Michael Bisping. You don't know what he's thinking; you don't really know what his game plan is going to be. You can look at film and see what he's done in the past. I'm just trying to get better, that's all that is.

Heavy MMA: What's your take on fighting Michael Bisping?

Dan Miller: I think it's going to be an exciting fight. I have a lot of respect for the man. He's a very good fighter. Anyone that can beat Dennis Kang in my eyes is a very, very good fighter. I think he's got a really good gas tank, he'll go to the end, and I'm excited for that.

Miller's in a very tough spot. He came into the UFC and reeled off three straight wins over Rob Kimmons, Matt Horwich, and the highly touted Jake Rosholt. Like his brother Jim, Dan Miller combines a solid wrestling base with an aggressive and effective submission game. That's a very dangerous combination because it allows Miller to get the fight to the ground where he's a very real threat to finish all but the most submission-savvy opponents.

But winning three straight fights in the UFC is the kind of huge accomplishment that is rewarded with ever tougher opponents. For Miller it meant running headlong into two fighters who are not as well rounded but who are far more accomplished at a single specialty: Chael Sonnen and Demian Maia. 

Both Sonnen and Maia are pushing the limits of what you can accomplish in modern MMA as a one-dimensional fighter. Unfortunately for Miller, he had no answer for Sonnen's world-class wrestling and thanks to the dislocated thumb he suffered early on against Maia, he lost that fight standing rather than on the ground where he had virtually no chance against Maia's lethal BJJ.

I hadn't heard about Miller's family issues. All I can say is, damn. There's no emotional pain worse than losing a child. I can't fathom what Miller was going through when he fought Sonnen in the aftermath of his daughter's death. And I can only imagine how hard it has been to focus on training for fights when his young son is fighting for his life.

I'll definitely be rooting for Miller to pull out a much needed win against perpetual heel Michael Bisping.

Bisping will have the advantage standing and he is very dangerous on the ground from top position and is capable of defending himself from his back. Miller will have a wrestling edge, but he's going to have his work cut out for him against a man who has shown a remarkable ability to get back to his feet against some of the light heavyweight division's better wrestlers in Rashad Evans and Matt Hamill. 

We'll find out Saturday if Dan Miller can overcome these daunting obstacles.

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