In this study, we characterized the miR482 family in cotton using existing small RNA datasets and the recently released draft genome sequence of Gossypium raimondii, a diploid cotton species whose progenitor is the putative contributor of the Dt (representing the D genome of tetraploid) genome of the cultivated tetraploid cotton species G. hirsutum and G. barbadense. Of the three ghr-miR482 members reported in G. hirsutum, ghr-miR482a has no homolog in G. raimondii, ghr-miR482b and ghr-miR482c each has a single homolog in G. raimondii. Gra-miR482d has five homologous loci (gra-miR482d, f-i) in G. raimondii and also exists in G. hirsutum (ghr-miR482d). A variant, miR482.2 that is a homolog of miR2118 in other species, is produced from several GHR-MIR482 loci in G. hirsutum. Approximately 12% of the G. raimondii NBS-LRR genes were predicted targets of various members of the gra-miR482 family. Based on the rationale that the regulatory relationship between miR482 and NBS-LRR genes will be conserved in G. raimondii and G. hirsutum, we investigated this relationship using G. hirsutum miR482 and G. raimondii NBS-LRR genes, which are not currently available in G. hirsutum. Ghr-miR482/miR482.2-mediated cleavage was confirmed for three of the four NBS-LRR genes analysed. As in tomato, miR482-mediated cleavage of NBS-LRR genes triggered production of phased secondary small RNAs in cotton. In seedlings of the susceptible cultivar Sicot71 (G. hirsutum) infected with the fungal pathogen Verticillium dahliae, the expression levels of ghr-miR482b/miR482b.2, ghr-miR482c and ghr-miR482d.2 were down-regulated, and several NBS-LRR targets of ghr-miR482c and ghr-miR482d were up-regulated. These results imply that, like tomato plants infected with viruses or bacteria, cotton plants are able to induce expression of NBS-LRR defence genes by suppression of the miRNA-mediated gene silencing pathway upon fungal pathogen attack.