The UFC goes “all in” on the FX Network on Friday night with UFC on FX: “Guillard vs. Miller”, and as you might have guessed, that marquee bout does indeed feature a fighter named “Miller” – Jim Miller, to be exact. By now you’ve no doubt seen the lightweight dynamo fight countless times. He’s been calling the Octagon home since 2008, and in that period, the New Jersey native has been busy winning nine out of eleven fights, along the way evolving from intense wrestler with dangerous submissions to jiu-jitsu black belt to dude capable of landing flying knees on exposed jawlines. Yup, with a work ethic unparalleled and a willingness to fight anyone at any time, Miller has ingratiated himself to both his bosses and the fans. How fitting, then, would be a profile on the dude on the eve of the first UFC event he’s ever headlined? (Answer: very fitting.)
-As you probably know, Jim is the “little” brother of fellow UFC fighter Dan (Dan’s a middleweight), and the siblings train out of the AMA Fight Club camp (with so many top level fighters, your head would spin if I listed them all). Jim wrestled briefly in college, but after he entered the MMA scene in 2005, he kept racking up wins and eventually became one of the top 155-pound fighters in the Northeast. His contemporaries on the local circuit included future UFC champ Frankie Edgar and future IFL and WEC veteran Deividas Taurosevicius.
-Miller has only lost three times, and all were by decision. His first loss was to Edgar, at a regional event called Reality Fighting. The bout went the distance and was hard-fought all the way, and in the waning seconds of the final frame of the three-round championship match, Miller landed a high-kick upside Edgar’s head that caused the cartilage in Edgar’s cauliflower ear to spurt out and onto the canvas. It. Was. Nasty. After getting the “W”, Edgar’s next bout was against Tyson Griffin in the UFC – a testament to how tough Miller was in UFC matchmaker Joe Silva’s eyes.
-The UFC was interested in Miller after his definitive submission victory over Octagon veteran Chris Liguori in a Ring of Combat event. But Miller was contractually obligated to fight for the IFL then, so he had to face one of their best guys in Bart Palaszewski before Dana White could adopt him. The New Jersey fighter beat the tar out of Palaszewski, dominating all three rounds, and not long after, when the IFL folded, Miller was UFC bound.
-Miller’s first opponent in the UFC was French judo specialist David Baron. Expectations were high for Baron, as he’d just tapped out the very highly-rated Hayato Sakurai; Miller crushed the Frenchman, submitting him in the third round. Baron has yet to fight in MMA again.
-Along with Edgar, Gray Maynard and Ben Henderson are the only other two guys to have defeated Miller. Maynard went on to have an epic trilogy with Edgar, and Henderson’s win over Miller earned him a shot at Edgar’s belt. To have your only losses come at the hands of champions and top contenders means you’re one bad mofo, no?
-I see Miller every now and then at local New Jersey show, where he’s sometimes cornering teammates. His beard and lumberjack-esqe demeanor have become so pronounced, I often wonder if he’s eschewed living in a house and instead sleeps outside. Seriously, the last time I saw him I asked him if he’d become a “mountain man”.