Fresh off of his win over Ross Pearson (13-4) at Ultimate Fight Night 22 last week, UFC lightweight Cole Miller (17-4) is eyeing a December or January return to the Octagon and hopes to have himself in the title picture in the next two years.
In the first round of their Sept. 15 fight, Pearson stayed busy on the feet and stifled Miller’s takedown attempts. Nevertheless, Miller was content striking with The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 winner after the first five minutes.
“I felt very comfortable in the standup area,” said Miller, himself a TUF alum from season five. “I feel, because I’m a technical fighter, I do better against the more polished, technical guys. Most of the leg kicks he threw I either checked or partially checked. I think he ended up having a pretty banged up foot afterward.”
Pearson has been difficult to take down in past fights, so Miller wasn’t surprised when he couldn’t take him to the mat early on and use his submission expertise.
“I expected him to have solid takedown defense and he did,” he said. “But I don’t train too much wrestling. I’m happy to pull guard or just stand and fight.”
He continued, “My corner was telling me to time the kicks off of my jab since that was his counter, they were telling me that that was when he was most vulnerable to be taken down.”
Lately Miller has been outspoken that fighters need to look for the finish, whether it’s a knockout of submission, instead of out-pointing their opposition and relying on the judges. With that mentality, Miller explained what was going through his mind after a first round that some observers think Pearson won on the scorecards.
“I don’t think about winning or losing rounds,” he said. “I think I’m going to try to knock him out or tap him out as best as I possibly can, and that’s all. But I remember thinking that the first round was pretty competitive.”
Miller’s desire to look for the finish paid off in more ways than one.
Besides earning a win over a rising prospect, Miller also received a Submission of the Night bonus. He shared the honor with Charles Oliveira, who picked up a third round rear naked choke victory over Efrain Escudero, and both men took home an extra $40,000.
“It’s very satisfying,” Miller said. “It encourages me that the mentality I have pays off, as well as the hard work I’ve put into this.”
The win improved Miller’s UFC record to 6-2, and he hopes that a title shot could eventually come in the next couple of years if he keeps racking up the victories.
“I’m somewhere in the upper middle of the division, and as long as I can keep the wins coming, I’m probably 2 years away from a title shot,” he said.
Asked when he wants to fight again, Miller replied, “I would like to fight again by December or January. That would be ideal.”
Cole asked to thank the following:
Thanks to all the fans that have supported me, American Top Team, IHP, Tapout, Lexani, Punch Drunk Gamer, The Gun Store, and Assassins Creed: Brotherhood.