After taking a decision win over Andy Ogle on Saturday night, Cole Miller grabbed headlines when he used his post-fight speech to go after “European fighters” and their alleged inability to challenge him.
Miller name-checked Ross Pearson, one of the European fighters he has beaten, but his real target was ‘Colin McGoober’ - the Irish featherweight Conor McGregor.
Fighters Only caught up with Miller at his hotel post-fight to get some further clarification on the beef with McGregor. Over a well-earned pint of Guinness - ironically, brewed in McGregor’s home city of Dublin - Miller explained why the Irishman is in his sights.
“I am not trying to say he is a bad fighter or anything like that, I’m just saying that he can’t walk into the UFC, win a decision over a 21-year-old kid like Max Holloway and then talk shit about MY team mates, American Top Team guys like Nik Lentz and Dustin Poirier,” he said, referring to an infamous recent Twitter post of McGregor’s.
“Those guys are top ten guys. I’m not gonna sit back and let somebody do that. You’ve got a decision win over a 21-year-old kid. I’ve got nine wins in the UFC, fifteen fights. I’m tested. You don’t deserve to just walk past everybody and go to the top of the line. I think that’s disgusting.
“I’m American Top Team, you don’t want to just be talking smack about Top Team guys. Those are my team mates, Dustin Poirier and Nik Lentz, where do you get off thinking you’re on that level? Talking about how great he is - you didn’t finish a 21-year-old with eight MMA fights. Get out of here dude.
“So I am just trying to jump in there and say to the guy look, you might be all that but you gotta prove it. I’m right here, come and prove it to me.”
Miller isn’t slow; he understands that the UFC is getting behind McGregor in a big way because he is so marketable in so many aspects. But he clearly resents the high-profile favorable treatment that McGregor has been receiving.
Just two fights into his UFC career McGregor - who has stopped Marcus Brimage and decisioned Max Holloway after suffering a torn ACL mid-fight - has been elevated to the MMA stratosphere occupied by the likes of Ronda Rousey and Michael Bisping.
“The UFC is trying to buy a country, get all these fans in Ireland and they’ve got a good fighter in Conor McGregor, everybody is behind him so they’ve turned him into a show-pony. You see him everywhere, they fly him out to every event, you see him there looking all GQ,” says Miller.
“I mean I don’t think he’s a bad fighter or anything, I just need to see a little bit more from him so, you know, come through me. I just think you don’t deserve to be fighting a top ten guy after not finishing a 21-year-old kid.”
Speaking of finishes, Miller says he is confident he would be able to put McGregor away inside the distance. McGregor has two career losses, both from early in his career, but he has never been stopped or put down by strikes.
“You know what I’m after next - Conor McGregor,” Miller says. “I’m confident of stopping everybody. I’ve got a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I’ve sat three guys down in the cage with punches or kicks, I’ve got three Submission of the Nights. I’ve got a Knockout of the Night.
“I am confident that I have the finishing abilities and skills that, any given point of the fight, I can end it. I’m healthy, I don’t have any injuries, I’m here to work. Keep me busy.”
Miller’s reference to “Europeans” got him booed out of the Octagon after the fight. Was he deliberately trying to insult the audience in attendance. “Some of my favorite fighters are European - Paul Kelly, Michael Bisping is a good fighter. And Terry Etim is one of my favorite guys to watch. I have nothing against European fighters I was just saying that Ross Pearson couldn’t do it.
“Its just me saying ‘hey these guys couldn’t do it, where’s the European fighter that can?’ Its not Conor McGregor,” says Miller.
The Clown Sweep
Miller got a lot of plaudits for this sequence during the fight, sweeping Andy Ogle and then transitioning into an armbar.
“I call that a Clown Sweep, because you clown a guy when you do that. I hit that in training all the time. I do a lot of seminars and I show that all the time. You can bait it and you can force it. Two different ways… book me for a seminar and I will show you”