At age 29, Jim Miller most likely sits on the back-end of the prime of his career. Though the end comes at different times for different fighters, at some point, everyone’s skills erode. During the first round of his bout with Pat Healy, he looked like the Jim Miller we all knew. He was strong positionally, with quick boxing and good scrambles. However, in rounds two and three, the tables turned on Miller. He was a step slower in all aspects of the fight. He began to get tagged on the feet and Healy began to win the scrambling exchanges.
At a glance, this might have just been a slip-up in Miller’s career. But on the other hand, it was very strange to see Jim Miller lose at his own game. Often, when we see strikers outstruck or grapplers outgrappled, it is because they have lost of step. For whatever reason, age has caught up to them in various small ways. It will happen to everyone going forward. In fact, the only undefeated fighter is time itself.
Miller showed the clear signs that he was slowing down due to age. He started strong but faded later in the fight. Usually in his fights, he was able to overcome bigger and stronger fighters (Miller has never been the biggest lightweight) with proper techique but in his fight with Healy, technique wasn’t enough for Miller.
Now that doesn’t mean that Miller will fall off the face of the earth and lose his next five fights. That’s the thing with age. It’s a slow decline for most fighters. But I think more and more we will see Miller struggle to maintain the top five ranking that he has held on to for the past few years.
In his last fight, there were many media members who commented that Georges St. Pierre was showing signs of age in his fight with Nick Diaz. People said he looked slower than normal an a little bit more ineffective. While I am not quite sure that St. Pierre has begun to decline, there is no doubt that his career will be over sooner rather than later. And considering Anderson Silva himself is 38, if the UFC wants to make a compelling superfight, they better do it soon.
Photo Credit – Brad Penner – USA Today Sports