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'TUF 9's' Mark Miller: 'I Definitely Want Some Fresh Scars'

The Ultimate Fighter 9 welterweight and IFL veteran Mark Miller doesn't mind collecting a few lasting wounds en route to a successful Strikeforce debut this Saturday on the Fedor vs. Rogers card in Chicago. In fact, he wants them.

In this Q&A with FanHouse, Miller talks about this first fight since his stint on the Spike TV reality show earlier this year and shares with us his simple goal as a mixed martial artist.

Ray Hui: Can you tell me about some of the specific people you're training with for this fight?

Mark Miller: Still training at the same place I've always trained at, Team Dino Costeas and West Loop Gym for my conditioning, but I do all my boxing, MMA, everything at Team Dino Costeas at POW. Training's been going really, really good. Got a couple of new guys in to help me train. I train with Dino and then my wrestling coach is Tom Ciezki -- he's an awesome Greco guy. Said Hatim, my Muay Thai coach and then I got a new boxing coach Tim Skolnik, who is a member of the 2004 US Olympic team, so he's an awesome addition to our team, to help us train, and everything's been going real good.

Your opponent Deray Davis trains about 30 minutes away from you. Were you familiar with him before you signed the fight, or even crossed paths with him?

Miller: No I haven't. A couple of guys I train with know him from some grappling tournaments and stuff, but I had never crossed paths with him at all.

What's your impression of him?

Miller: I've watched some footage but he just seems just like the rest of us. Trains standup, wrestling, jiu-jitsu. I mean, there's no secret formula these days. I didn't really see anything he favored. He seemed to do a little bit of everything, so I just got to keep my options open and be ready for anything.

This is your fight fight coming out of The Ultimate Fighter, what were some things you picked up from your training with Dan Henderson and his Team Quest staff that you've been benefiting from for this fight?

Miller: When I was training with them, I realized something that my coach Dino has been telling me for years and that's that I need to relax more when I fight because I try to turn everything into like a brawl and end up doing stupid things and getting caught with stupid things. That's something I've taken away from the show. Like I said, my coach has been telling me that for years, I think I'm just finally realizing it. Also, I learned a lot of good wrestling stuff that I've still been using since I left the show. It's added a little bit to my game, for sure.

There was some talk of you dropping to lightweight after show. Is that still something you're considering? I understand this fight is at welterweight.

Miller: Yeah, this fight is at welterweight. I don't know, that's a pretty far drop. If I did it, it would have to be something I did over time. I would need a couple of months to gradually get the weight off. It's something I could consider, but right now I'm going to stick where I'm at. Especially to see where this fight goes. If I feel I'm too small for the welterweight division then I'll try and stop eating Chipotle and Taco Bell.

Looking at your record, you've been really successful in the Illinois, Indiana areas. Is there something about fighting in front of family, friends and supporters that really motivates you?

Miller: Yeah, actually I love fighting in front of the hometown crowd. I love fighting in front of a big crowd. It's definitely motivating to fight in front of your friends and family and it's also a lot better when you get to sleep in our own bed instead of traveling and going through airports and sleeping in hotels. It's nice to do everything at home. Cut your weight in your own gym, and eat at home.

How many fights are on this Strikeforce deal?

Miller: As of right now it's just this one-fight deal, and then see what happens from there. I don't know what the plans are for the future. I let my manager handle stuff like that. I really don't get into anything else outside of being in the gym and training for fights.

What are your goals now in the sport?

The goal pretty much remains the same for anyone who fights. The goal is to fight and win. That's pretty much it. I definitely want some fresh scars. I think scars are pretty cool. What I'm looking to gain out of fighting is wins and scars

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