Cole Miller (13-2, 2-1 UFC), who had already compiled an 11-2 MMA record in various promotions, became well known for his stint as a contestant on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” where he was a member of Jens Pulver’s team. He defeated Alan Berube in the opening round of the reality series before being defeated by Joe Lauzon in the quarterfinals. Miller next went on to defeat fellow cast member Andy Wang on the live finale of the series in his UFC debut and posted another UFC victory over Leonard Garcia at UFC Fight Night 11. In his next fight, Miller was defeated by Jeremy Stephens via second round TKO at UFC Fight Night 12 in January.
Now looking to bounce back from the loss and climb the lightweight championship ladder, Miller, who will return to the octagon in July at UFC 86, discusses his fight preparation, advice for up-and-coming fighters, who he would like to face in the future, and more in this exclusive interview with MMAFrenzy.com.
Curtis Clontz: Thanks for the opportunity to interview you. American Top Team has announced that you will be fighting at UFC 86, any idea on who you will be fighting? If not, who would you like to fight?
Cole Miller: There is an idea of who I will be fighting.
Curtis Clontz: How is your training coming for that fight?
Cole Miller: Training is going pretty good. I’ll start hitting it hard pretty soon. It’s important to be in tip top shape so Iâ€™m going to start training for triathlons again so Iâ€™ll be in phenomenal cardiovascular shape.
Curtis Clontz: How does your training differ between normal training and specific training for a fight?
Cole Miller: Training for a specific fight just means the sparring is harder, the grappling is harder, I do more wrestling, and everything is serious, and Iâ€™m mean in the gym. If Iâ€™m not fighting its more for just fun because I love what I do.
Curtis: When training for a fight do you have a specific training schedule that you do or does it change? Please explain.
Cole Miller: The training schedule gets set by me and my team. In fact it doesnâ€™t seem like there are enough hours in a day sometimes, between the workouts and the driving and eating between and prepping food and teaching I have no time for anything else.
Curtis Clontz: How much tape of your opponent do you watch? If so, what are you looking for? If not, why not?
Cole Miller: I just like to see how he fights. Does he break? Is he mentally tough? Is he technical? Is he a bully? I donâ€™t really pay attention so much to the specific techniques because fighters are constantly evolving their games. The good ones are anyways.
Curtis Clontz: A question some of the fans wanted to know was if you do anything odd or irregular before a fight?
Cole Miller: I always shave the morning of the fight, but thatâ€™s about all.
Curtis Clontz: One of the things fighters struggle with is weight.
Cole Miller: I do too, only I struggle to walk around more than 7 pounds over 155.
Curtis Clontz: Tell us about your diet.
Cole Miller: Well itâ€™s mostly all natural and organic. The diet for this fight will be strict. Iâ€™ll be taking in a lot more calories than in the past.
Curtis Clontz: What is your walking weight?
Cole Miller: Pretty big for a 145â€™er [laughs].
Curtis Clontz: If you are a true 145, any interest in challenging Faber or making a move to the WEC?
Cole Miller: I would do that if 155 doesnâ€™t work out, but Iâ€™m not necessarily wanting to challenge Faber. I would just want to earn my way to fight whoever would have control over the title.
Curtis Clontz: Can you give any hints or anything that seems to work well with you when dieting or cutting weight?
Cole Miller: Donâ€™t be a bitch. Iâ€™ve made 143 while walking at my current weight and at one point when I was 152 pounds I made 135. Get in the sauna, suck it up, and donâ€™t be a punk.
Curtis Clontz: Thatâ€™s the best advice Iâ€™ve heard yet! The Ultimate Fighter has been a huge avenue for young fighters to step into the UFC. Curtis Clontz: What were the best and worst parts of being on the show?
Cole Miller: The best part was the people and the end result of making it to the UFC. The worst was the people [laughs].
Curtis Clontz: Do you have any regrets about the show?
Cole Miller: None. The experience was good overall.
Curtis Clontz: What was it like working with Jens Pulver?
Cole Miller: I wouldnâ€™t have traded it for anything. He’s an awesome coach and person.
Curtis Clontz: At what point did you realize that you could fight at such a high level?
Cole Miller: Just recently.
Curtis Clontz: Did something happen to make you realize that?
Cole Miller: No just in the past year or so I started realizing there are a lot of guys out there who arenâ€™t any good. TV twists your mind you have a certain expectation that fighter A is of a high level. Fighter B beats fighter A and you see the fight on TV. Later you train with fighter A and he’s not so high level and it turns out fighter B isnâ€™t either. You just see these guys fighting on TV so you assume because you’re not there yet that you are far away from that level but really some of these guys arenâ€™t good at anything, they’re just tough.
Curtis Clontz: If you could give any recommendations to amateur fighters what would it be?
Cole Miller: Donâ€™t let anyone tell you that this is just a phase or that you wonâ€™t make it to the high level. F*** those mother f****** and tell them to kiss your ass if they donâ€™t like what you do or what youâ€™re passionate about. Weed those people out of your life. Even if itâ€™s your family, theyâ€™ll come around or they wonâ€™t.
Curtis Clontz: What would you say is the most common mistake made among young fighters?
Cole Miller: Itâ€™s easy to get good in the beginning because you donâ€™t know shit, so you think you’re getting good when really you suck. Make sure you have humility because if you donâ€™t, someoneâ€™s going to whoop your ass and its going to blow up in your face and youâ€™re going to look like a jackass so bad you’ll probably quit doing what you like to do.
Curtis Clontz: If Dana White came to you and said you could fight against anyone, who would you pick and why?
Cole Miller: Roger Huerta, because he’s this golden boy that gets all this publicity. Not that I donâ€™t think he’s earned it, but I just think Iâ€™d be the worst kind of matchup for him.
Curtis Clontz: Some of the fans have shown interest in seeing you fight Nate Diaz or Joe Stevenson, any desire to fight either of them? Why or why not?
Cole Miller: I havenâ€™t really heard anything about either of these matchups being of interest, but me and Nathan train together for our fights, and there are a lot of 155ers so I donâ€™t feel the need to single out someone like Nate. Itâ€™s not like thereâ€™s only 8 guys in the division. Itâ€™s the deepest division so you can take your pick.
Curtis Clontz: If you could make any MMA fight happen, what would it be?
Cole Miller: BJ Penn vs. Gesias Calvacante, BJ Penn vs. Anderson Silva, or BJ Penn vs. St. Pierre 2
Curtis Clontz: Will Randy and Fedor ever fight?
Cole Miller: Yes. Unfortunately neither will be at their best at that point, similar to Chuck and Wanderlei.
Curtis Clontz: What are the best things about training at the American Top Team?
Cole Miller: The people, we’re a family
Curtis Clontz: Tell us about the staff that helps train you.
Cole Miller: They give everything to us fighters, and we give all of ourselves to them. Itâ€™s the best combination I think there can be between coaches and fighters.
Curtis Clontz: What does the future hold for Cole Miller?
Cole Miller: A lot of people getting beat up.
Curtis Clontz: Is there anything that you would like to say to the fans or about your sponsors?
Cole Miller: Thanks to Tapout and thanks to everyone that stayed by my side from the beginning. F*** everyone who doesnâ€™t like me.
Curtis Clontz: Thanks for the chance to pick your brain, any parting comments?
Cole Miller: Thanks for the interview. To all the aspiring fighters – Train hard.