Dan Miller thrust into UFC middleweight spotlight

CHRIS DOUCETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:29 PM ET

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY — Dan Miller has battled huge personal turmoil and persevered, now the UFC fighter finds himself on the verge of yet another battle.

But this is fight he’s looking forward to.

The 29-year-old was suppose to fight fellow New Jersey native Nick Catone in a prelim match-up this Saturday at UFC 128.

However, Yoshihiro Akiyama was forced to pull out of his fight with Nate Marquardt in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

So Miller was asked to fill in, meaning he suddenly finds himself going head to head with one of the best middleweights in the world.

The opportunity may be bitter sweet, but it’s a chance Miller welcomes.

“For me to move up in the ranks, I have to beat tough guys like Nate,” he said at Thursday’s open workouts. “I’ve fought tough guys before and this is my time to prove that I deserve to be there in the top ten middleweights in the UFC.”

Miller and his wife lost a baby girl at birth in 2009.

As he tried to cope with the loss, his streak of three UFC wins quickly became a streak of three losses.

Then in 2010 Miller’s four-month-old son Daniel Jr. battled a potentially deadly genetic kidney disease.

He credits his son’s will to live with setting him back on a winning path.

Marquardt, who showed up at the open workouts sporting a blackeye from a sparring accident, said it was unfortunate Akiyama wasn't able to fight.

But he said the fact Miller is a local fighter will add to the excitement of the night.


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