Walking into the UFC APEX on Wednesday afternoon was refreshing for The Ultimate Fighter flyweight finalist Juliana Miller. She was reminded of the two victories that she earned inside that Octagon, and it brought back the energy she wants heading into the finale on Saturday night.
Being able to compete in this type of environment is unmatched and an experience that Miller didn’t take for granted, but once she got back to her home gym in San Diego, Miller felt complete.
“I loved everything about The Ultimate Fighter experience and had I had the opportunity, I would’ve stayed in there for this fight, but I am so grateful to have been back home and regained my freedom,” Miller said. “The ability to go walk on the beach between training sessions and hug and kiss my grandma and tell my family how much I love them has been incredible. I’m so grateful for my coaches and my team back home.”
When filming wrapped up, Miller, who was on Team Peña, went home and started preparing to take on Team Nuñes’ Brogan Walker. Miller had to stay quiet and lowkey about the results of the show but keeping a big secret for one of the biggest fights of your life wasn’t hard for Miller to do.
“I just shut up, keep my head down and work hard, so if there are any questions, it’s like, ‘Listen, I’m just trying to stay ready for that call,” Miller said. “I know that one day I’m going to make it there, so all I can do it keep working and keep grinding.’ I kept it at that - short, easy, and sweet.”
In the quarterfinals, the 26-year-old won a three-round unanimous decision over Claire Guthrie. That victory was followed by a second-round submission against Kaytlin Neil in the semifinals to secure her spot in the final.
Living in the TUF house wasn’t easy for Miller, as she said she dealt with taunting and teasing of other competitors due to her age (26) and record, which now stands at 3-1. The “Killer” believes her victory in the semifinals over Neil showed that she deserved to be there and, at the end of the day, she is the one in the final, not them. The mental aspect was the biggest change Miller saw in herself from the time she entered the competition compared to now.
Miller feels she knows what to expect from Walker after living and spending time with her in the house.
“I feel that we both have a chip on our shoulder after experiences in the TUF house,” Miller said. “We weren’t exactly friends in there and we’re just hungry to punch each other in the face, in my opinion.
“I’m expecting Brogan to bring a heavy right hand and extreme strength, Hulk-like almost. She’s got a brick-like body where she’s just extremely heavy with her punches and she’s heavy on top of you.”
Walker comes into the matchup with a record of 8-2. She went pro back in 2014 and had a 3-2 record in Invicta FC. Even though Walker comes into the fight with more experience, it doesn’t faze Miller, who believes she is bringing more to the table.
“I bring this aura to the cage that just can’t be recreated. I get the people going and I am an energetic fighter where people feel how I feel when I’m in there,” Miller said. “I bring the fuel and I bring the energy. There’s a reason Brogan didn’t make it here sooner in her career; no offense, but she’s incredibly boring, both in her interviews and in her everyday life. There’s nothing exciting about that. Y’all want a show and I’m here to give it to you, a nice and bloody one.”
Becoming The Ultimate Fighter is quite the accomplishment and it kickstarts the next phase of your fighting career. For Miller, there aren’t enough words to describe how badly she wants to be the champion. She is willing to do whatever it takes to get the victory.
“This is really a life-or-death experience for me,” Miller said. “I’ve never wanted anything more in my life. As much as I want to take another breath in my life tomorrow is how bad I want to win this match. I want it more than anything and I’m willing to die trying. Brogan Walker you are literally going to have to kill me to walk out of the cage the winner.”
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Hill took place on August 6, 2022 live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!