Flyweight prospect Juliana Miller has made it to the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 30, with one fight standing between her and a UFC contract.
That fight will come this weekend at UFC Vegas 59, with Miller (2-1) up against Invicta FC vet Brogan Walker.
Following the conclusion of TUF 30’s regular season, Miller spoke to Cageside Press about her experience on the long-running reality series.
“It has been really incredible. I’ve learned so much, both good and bad,” Miller explained. “I learned no matter what you say and do, people are going to judge you for it and hate you for it. There is no right and wrong, because even if you think you’re saying the right thing, somebody is going to hate it. So the most important thing is really just to be yourself, and I was very much myself on the show.”
Miller credits that authenticity for the growth of her fanbase, and of her haters. “I think that was one of my biggest takeaways, that for the rest of my career, I’m really just going to be me and say and talk about what I believe it. And for the people that it offends, so be it, and for the people that it inspires, f*cking awesome. It just feels good to be me.”
To some extent, despite TUF 30 being mostly free of drama in terms of what aired, Miller was made to look like the “villain,” at least once or twice.
“They did make me look like the bad guy a little bit,” Miller agreed, “but they also made me look pretty freaking awesome at other times. Really, anything that moves the audience emotionally is going to be great for your career. So I’m excited that I was the person they chose to give that role of emotion for, whether positive or negative. So be it. Out of all the women, I was really the one that people felt strongly about.” That reflects how Miller fights, she added — with her heart and soul, passion and intensity.
The entire villain role seemed to center around her feud with Bobby Maximus, a forty-something heavyweight returning to The Ultimate Fighter after appearing on the show’s second season. Maximus instantly bonded with some of the women’s flyweights on the opposing team, leading to the suggestion that he might be leaking info.
Miller later accused her fellow Team Pena fighter of flirting as well, though Maximus would deny it.
As far as Miller backing up her claims, that’s “A hundred percent. I would wake up every morning to Bobby having his little meetings with Claire [Guthrie] and Brogan [Walker],” she told us. “Bobby would literally not smile at any of our team outings. The only time Bobby would smile was when he was hanging out with the other team.”
“Multiple times we had said ‘hey Bobby, what about us, want to help us?’ and he just matched energetically with them,” she continued. “Which is cool, but it’s like, hey bro, you’re a married man, it’s kind weird that you spend all your time with these girls.”
While Miller says there’s likely hours of tape showing Maximus being a flirt, perhaps more troublesome is the fact that the opposing team, coached by Amanda Nunes, appeared to have the inside track on her.
Multiple secrets, said Miller, “were shared in both of my fights. My injury, they knew about my injury, went for my leg. Additionally, there was this move that I had been practicing, somehow they knew to not clinch because of this move I was practicing. And I don’t know anyone else on my team that was even communicating with the other team.”
Maximus won’t be a factor at the finale, however. The show has long since wrapped, and Miller need only worry about Brogan Walker, who she has a healthy respect for. And while you might think there would be an advantage in scouting Walker live, that’s not the way it worked out due to the TUF filming schedule.
“I actually didn’t get to see all her fights in person, I only got to see one. The second one, we were fighting on the same day, so I didn’t get to see that until after the show came out,” noted Miller.
When it comes to Walker, “Brogan has a really strong right hand. She’s durable, she’s experienced, she’s a solid grappler. She’s not great at jiu-jitsu, however her anti-jiu-jitsu is really, really good. Basically, she’s good at not getting submitting. She’s great at holding you, she loves to hold. She’ll get into a control position and just hold and hold and hold.”
Miller also noted that Brogan is hard to finish. “It’s really going to be a challenging fight for me, and it’s going to be an awesome scrap.”
Watch our full interview with Juliana Miller above. Miller faces Brogan Brogan Walker in The Ultimate Fighter 30 women’s flyweight final this Saturday, part of UFC Vegas 59.