Why Andrew Miller Left Mechanical Engineering For A Muay Thai Career

Andrew “Maddog Fairtex” Miller established his presence on the global stage for martial arts with a thrilling win over Mohammed “Jordan Boy” Bin Mahmoud in his last outing.

Now, the Scottish striker makes a swift return to action when he faces former ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Title challenger Han Zi Hao at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST in Shanghai, China on Saturday, 15 June.

Ahead of his battle inside the Baoshan Arena, learn all about “Maddog Fairtex” and his road to ONE Super Series.

Resisting The Negative Influences

Miller was born and raised in Cumbernauld, a small town outside of Glasgow, Scotland. Although his mother and father did not live together, they provided a loving atmosphere for their son.

“My parents were separated, but I grew up with my whole family,” he recalls. “My mum and late gran mostly looked after me, but my dad has always been there for me as well.”

Academia was never Miller’s strong point, but he was an active youngster who played lots of sports. In particular, he was fascinated with football.

I wasn’t the best in classes, but sports were where I was at my best,” he says.

Despite his natural talent in the sporting arena, he was still picked on by some of his fellow classmates.

“I got a little bit bullied back in school,” he continues. “I’ve got the ginger hair and all that, so I tried to mix in with the wrong crowd, to try and be the cool guy.”

What began as self-preservation quickly transformed into a problem, as he took to the streets drinking with his new friends and getting into trouble.

His mother sensed the start of a downward spiral. To keep her son away from the bad influences, she moved them from their small town to the largest city in the nation.

“My mum sold the house and we moved down to Glasgow to get away from the bad stuff,” Miller continues.

“What we were doing wasn’t big and it wasn’t clever to be honest going out on the streets drinking and all that. But it’s probably better to do it as a kid rather than later on in life and losing it.”

Finding His Passion In Muay Thai

Miller had managed to steer clear of trouble and when he was 19 years old, he was working through his apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer. The job, however, did not ignite his spark.

During that time, a buddy invited the young Scotsman to a Muay Thai class.

“One of my friends asked me to go with him to Thai boxing one day. I just went, and it kept building up and building up,” he explains.

“I used to watch mixed martial arts, but I’d never thought of training until my friend asked me. I was into it, but I only did it once a week and still played football here and there.”

After a year of fairly casual training, Miller’s coaches at Colosseum Muay Thai entered him into an interclub match-up, and that was where things picked up.

“I got offered an interclub fight, so I took it a wee bit serious and started training more,” he says.

“I committed more to it, and I enjoyed it. From there, it became my passion. All my friends came to watch me and it was brilliant — that was a good time for me.”

Miller left his career as a mechanical engineer as soon as he finished his apprenticeship and took part-time security jobs so he could train more. He was happy just to make ends meet, all while improving his techniques in “the art of eight limbs.”

Then, one day, a post on a Muay Thai forum changed his fate.

“I saw a post saying they were looking for sponsored fighters at a gym called Honour Muay Thai in Pattaya,” he remembers.

“I just sent them a message and a few videos of my fights, and they asked me to come out, so there it was. It was meant to happen. I’m a believer in that things happen for a reason.”

Hard Times

The life of a martial artist is not always glamorous. An athlete might step into packed stadiums and compete in front of millions of viewers now, but there have been times when the competitor had very little to show for it.

Even in Thailand, the home of “the art of eight limbs,” life was not always easy.

The owner of Miller’s original gym relocated, but the Scotsman opted to stay in Pattaya with his girlfriend. He earned a spot at the famed Fairtex Training Center and prospered until injury struck, that is.

“I had a fight last year and I got my nose badly broken, and that put me out for six or seven months,” he states.

“I had no fights and no income, so that was hard. It was hard to live living on 150 baht a day, trying to survive for around six months.

“I had a bit of depression about that. You don’t know what can happen in one of your fights or when all of this can be taken away from you. It was hard to take for a while, but I just stuck with it.”

Miller saw out the lean times with the help of his friends, and it gave him a greater appreciation for his career and his finances.

“It makes it feel good to have money now. I can help people out, and not worry about stuff,” he says. “It’s easy to see who helps you when you’re at your lowest, and now when I’m at my highest, I’m happy to help people.”

Joining The Elite In ONE

Training alongside the likes of Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex, Stamp Fairtex, and Saemapetch Fairtex, Miller grew massively as a martial artist and took every big opportunity that came his way.

His impressive performances earned him a contract with ONE, and he is thrilled to share the global stage with many of the world’s best strikers.

“ONE Championship is the marker, it’s where everyone wants to get to. The strong fighters are here. It’s where you can test yourself,” he offers.

“I’m not in Thai boxing for belts. Don’t get me wrong they’re beautiful and nice to show to your friends and family. But when you get to fight the big names, make a name for yourself and have a war, that’s what means the most to me.”

With his first win in hand and a shot at one of the bantamweight division’s biggest names imminent, Miller does have his eyes on the gold.

However, his primary motivation is always personal progress and happiness.

“Obviously, the ONE World Title is a good goal to have,” he adds. “But I want to live my life and ride this out because you never know when your fight career will finish. So I’m just enjoying life as much as possible.”