By Elias Cepeda
Cole Miller is in Sydney, Australia cutting weight for the first time in years. The young UFC fighter has competed at lightweight (155 pounds) since he entered the organization in 2007, but before that time he often fought at 145 pounds.
The UFC didn’t used to have a 145-pound division and even after it purchased the WEC – which did feature lighter weight classes – Miller says he was intent on staying in the promotion in order to take advantage of its larger fight bonuses (which, incidentally, he’s won several of), so he stayed at lightweight.
But now the promotion has lighter weight divisions and this Friday Miller will once again return to fighting where he says he belongs: at featherweight.
He arrived in Sydney on his own dime earlier than the UFC flew out the other fighters on the card to acclimate to the time zone change and resulting jet lag. “You spend almost an entire day in the air, not eating the food you should, getting dehydrated. And then you land and it takes another day to get used to the time change,” Miller says.
Still, the 6-foot-1 fighter doesn’t seem worried about making the 145 featherweight limit Thursday. “This will be the first time in a long time that I’m cutting weight but I’m not concerned about it,” Miller tells CagePotato. “[Does it] suck? Sure. It’s shitty because weight cutting is shitty. But it’s not an extreme weight cut. There’s no sauna. It’s a smart weight cut. I’ve been doing things the right way, with proper weight training and proper nutrition.”
Entering fight week at 10 pounds over his required weight, Miller (18-5) didn’t fret about having to cut the amount needed to make the featherweight limit . While losing ten pounds in a week may seem like a lot to us civilians, it is pretty much the bare minimum amount of weight that can be classified as a “cut” for professional fighters. But as a UFC lightweight, Miller says he was not cutting any weight at all, and therefore fought guys who, despite officially being in his weight class, could be as much as twenty pounds heavier come fight night after rehydrating from the prior day’s weigh-in.
Miller has total confidence in his skill set, but says that fighting fighters so much bigger and stronger than him got old.
“Yeah, the biggest thing was the strength,” Miller points out. “You don’t notice it solely in the fights. I notice it in training as well. You’re sparring with guys that weigh over 180lbs and here I am walking around at 164lbs with minimal dieting…My technique was the one thing keeping me competitive [at lightweight].”
“Magrinho” certainly didn’t decide to move down a class because he figured he would have an easier road to a title (“I feel that, skill wise, 145 and 155 are equal. If anything, usually the lower the weight the greater the technical ability of the guys there,” he says) and he also didn’t do it at the prodding of his coaches at the famously expert weight-cutting American Top Team.
“No, it’s something I always wanted to do. After the Matt Wiman loss I said, ‘Forget this, I’m going to featherweight,’ but it was my coaches that said not to be rash,” Miller explains. “I’m just fighting at 145 now because that’s my weight. I have the potential to do better there and climb the ladder better, simply because that’s actually my weight.”
Insisting that he won’t be fighting his own body after a tough weight cut, Miller will be primed to take on a tough young adversary in the form of Steven Siler (19-9) Friday night. Siler owns a UFC debut win and a submission on The Ultimate Fighter over Cole’s younger brother, Micah. Between his opponent’s impressive record and his “W” over his sibling, there’s little chance the elder Miller is overlooking his opponent.
“Obviously [Siler] is tough. He’s got a lot of wins. He’s got a decent amount of losses as well but that tells me that after each loss he comes back,” Miller credits Siler. “I know he’s got to respect my skill set. I’m training hard. I’m not underestimating him at all. If anything, I feel like I’m 0-0 in the UFC now. This is a new slate for me. Anything I’ve done in the past doesn’t even matter anymore. I need to go out here and make a statement.”