How long has Jim Miller been a standout member of the UFC roster? Long enough to fight in the Octagon more times than anyone not named Donald Cerrone heading into a UFC 252 matchup with Vinc Pichel that will break his tie with “Cowboy” atop the leaderboard for most UFC bouts.
The New Jersey veteran has also been here to the point where it took four UFC.com staffers to cover his fights since his debut in 2008 and a trip to the Wayback Machine to find some old fight reports for this piece, which celebrates a career in which Miller has fought in a remarkable three decades.
So without further ado, here’s ten of Jim Miller’s best, the way we saw them on fight night.
David Baron (By Elliot Worsell)
Youthful exuberance and raw strength conquered experience and know-how as Jim Miller overpowered and eventually choked out French star David Baron at 3.19 of the third round in a battle of talented lightweights.
New Jersey’s Miller, 10 years Baron’s junior at 25, initiated the action from the outset, always looking to start attacks and always looking to be the boss on the ground.
The seasoned Baron, a man with a wealth of high-level mixed martial arts experience, found himself able to hang and deal with Miller’s advances, but he could never seem to generate any action of his own. He would always be reacting upon whatever Miller decided upon.
Numerous times Miller would get Baron’s back, only to be then shaken off by the slippery and composed Parisian. Nevertheless, Miller’s diligence and desire to finish things gradually broke the will and durability of Baron. He could only avoid the inevitable for so long.
Entering the third round, Miller was evidently the one with the skip in his step. Only five minutes away from victory, Miller took Baron to the floor – a recurring theme in the bout – and used all his superior strength to control the flow of the action.
Despite Baron’s attempts to keep Miller guessing and avoid countless choke attempts, Miller eventually caught his piece-de-resistance with only two minutes to go. Eager to not let this one slip away, Miller secured the rear-naked choke win and took his record to 12-1.
With lightweights Jim Miller and Mac Danzig both coming off losses (and Danzig coming off two straight defeats), the stakes were understandably high in their three rounder and they fought like it, with Miller emerging victorious via an exciting unanimous decision.
The verdict read 30-27 across the board for Miller in a fight that was a closer fight than those scores would indicate.
Miller’s standup was crisp to start the bout, and it allowed him to open Danzig (19-7-1) up for a takedown 45 seconds in. On the mat, Miller (14-2) continued his assault, this time with ground strikes. Danzig responded with elbows from his back, but it was Miller who did the most damage as he opened a cut on Danzig’s forehead. After a brief scramble back to their feet, the fight went back to the mat, with Danzig almost sinking in a choke. Miller fought free though, and the two proceeded to battle it out with each other on the canvas until the bell sounded.
Opening the second with a thudding kick to the midsection, Miller stuck to his gameplan of using strikes to set up the takedown, and once he got Danzig to the mat, he made the Las Vegan’s life miserable with a relentless attack of ground and pound. But if Danzig was thinking of turning in for the night, it didn’t show, as he continued to fight back with elbows from the bottom position. With one minute left, referee Steve Mazzagatti re-started the action, which was surprising since both fighters were still working, and Danzig almost made the most of it, locking in a deep guillotine that was only interrupted by the bell.
Energized by the crowd, Miller and Danzig both came out fast for the final round, with both landing hard shots before locking up against the fence. After a brief stalemate, they separated and picked at each other with strikes in an effort to end the bout with one shot. Danzig landed the heavier blows, briefly jarring Miller with a punch to the head and a knee as the New Jersey native shot in for the takedown. With under two minutes left, Miller got Danzig’s back and looked to finish, but the game Danzig fought out of a rear naked choke and fired away with ground strikes as the crowd erupted until the bell.
Charles Oliveira I
Lightweight contender Jim Miller made no secret of his desire to move to the next level after five consecutive UFC wins. Well, he made an example of unbeaten phenom Charles Oliveira, handing the 21-year old his first pro loss via first round submission to make it six in a row. See post-fight interview
“I think a lot of people underestimated me coming into this fight,” said Miller. “Charles is a tough kid with a lot of potential, but I’m one of the best in the world. I wanted to go out and prove a point. I want my shot.”
Oliveira drilled Miller with a series of head kicks to open the bout. The tough kid from Jersey walked through them, with the two finding their way to the mat. Miller escaped a quick guillotine attempt from Oliveira and began firing off ground strikes. Oliveira looked to nail a submission, but Miller wasn’t having it, and with a blazing fast transition, he locked in a kneebar, forcing a tap out at the 1:59 mark.
With the win, Miller improves to 19-2; Oliveira falls to 14-1.
Melvin Guillard (By Frank Curreri)
Jim Miller weathered an early storm Friday night at Bridgestone Arena that saw him eat some heavy knees from Melvin Guillard, but he turned the tables with a textbook rear naked choke that earned him the victory in the UFC on FX main event, vaulting him right back into title contention at 155 pounds.
Winner of eight of his past nine fights, the New Jersey native rebounded from a tough loss to Benson Henderson, who fights UFC lightweight kingpin Frankie Edgar next month in Japan.
“I don’t get knocked down often and he knocked me down, so he hits hard,” Miller said of Guillard, who dropped his second straight after the choke at 2:04 of round one. “I don’t think there a bunch of people in this weight class or the one above that probably want to fight that kid.”
Miller didn’t lobby for a title shot, but did make it clear he’s ready for any challenge out there.
“I’m confident that I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world and I’m willing to make you guys believe that,” Miller said, before adding, “Everybody, you probably know that my nephew is going through some hard times and I want to thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your generosity.”
Joe Lauzon I (By Laura Gilbert)
Entering the Octagon inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night with 13 UFC fights each and a combined 15 post-fight bonuses, lightweights Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon quickly lived up to their fight’s hype, outshining UFC 155's three middleweight bouts and adding a last-minute entry to year-end Fight of the Year lists.
Both durable, well-rounded and nimble submission artists, Miller vs. Lauzon was billed as a match-up of mirror images. By the end of three rounds, those mirror images were coated in blood, with a screaming arena celebrating Miller's decision win and thrilled by the performances of both men..
Known for coming out aggressively, Lauzon did just that, but Miller answered with equal intensity, landing uppercuts and low kicks as Lauzon came forward. He forced Lauzon against the cage, wobbling him with uppercuts, and at one point dropping him with a low leg kick. An elbow from close quarters opened a cut on Lauzon’s forehead, and Miller grabbed for a standing head-and-arm choke that only caused it to pour, drawing a temporary checkup from the doctor. Lauzon bounded back, but Miller continued the onslaught of punches, which Lauzon merrily weathered and returned in kind. At one point, the two traded kicks and both dropped backward. Neither relented as the round buzzer sounded and the crowd stood to its feet.
Miller, a BJJ black belt, landed a takedown early in the second, and Lauzon – himself a submission expert -- worked to tie up one of Miller’s arms. Lauzon eventually got the sweep, and another brief stoppage occurred as the cutmen removed a piece of tape from Lauzon’s glove that had come unraveled. Back in Miller’s rubber guard, Lauzon stood and slammed Miller down, which had little tactical result but further endeared Lauzon to the crowd. Lauzon reached for an armbar then rolled for a kneebar, but both men were slicked enough with blood that Miller escaped. Both men again drew a standing ovation at the end of the second.
Back on the feet for the third, the pair moved in and out as they boxed, with Lauzon working the body until slipping on the mat. He tried to goad Miller into his guard, but Miller’s success on his feet had him happy to keep things there. Lauzon scored with a left and a knee, while Miller worked to hold Lauzon in the clinch and throw right elbows. With less than a minute left, Lauzon dove and spun for a flying leglock, then pulled Miller into a guillotine.
“I knew I was going to have to bring my best effort to put him away and I was never able to," said Miller post-fight. That’s how good he is. Even in the last minute, look what he was trying to do to win the fight.
Judges gave the bout to Jim Miller with three scores of 29-28, as Miller rises to 22-5; Lauzon slips to 22-8; both men saw their bonus counts grow for their troubles when the bout was named Fight of the Night at the post-fight press conference.
New Jersey lightweight contender Jim Miller showed all facets of his mixed martial arts game in less than a round, and that’s all it took to submit late replacement Yancy Medeiros.
Miller used his kicks a lot more liberally than in other fights, but it was a left to the body that really got Medeiros’ attention. Moments later, as the two locked up against the fence, it gave Miller the opening he needed for the finish, and he took it, sinking in a guillotine choke that put Medeiros out at 3:18 of the round.
With the win, Miller improved to 24-4 with 1 NC; Medeiros, who moved from his own bout against Joe Ellenberger to replace the injured Bobby Green, falls to 9-2 with 1 NC.
In a crossroads bout between two lightweight veterans, Jim Miller opened up the UFC 200 card with an impressive first-round stoppage of Takanori Gomi, snapping a two-fight losing streak.
Miller’s opportunity to get the fight to the mat took less than a minute, and the New Jersey native went to work for a submission immediately as he took Gomi’s back. The former PRIDE champion fought to get loose, but Miller remained patient, and when Gomi’s neck didn’t open up for the choke, he went to his striking, delivering a series of unanswered blows that forced referee Mark Smith to intervene at the 2:18 mark.
Miller moves to 26-8 with 1 NC with the win; Tokyo’s Gomi, who has now lost three straight, falls to 35-12 with 1 NC.
Joe Lauzon II
Lightweight veterans Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon delivered another action-packed war in the main card opener, and the result was the same as well, as Miller scored a hard-fought three-round decision victory.
The split verdict read 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Miller, now 27-8, 1 NC; Lauzon falls to 26-13. Miller defeated Lauzon via unanimous decision in the 2012 Fight of the Year.
The fists started flying immediately, Miller jarring Lauzon briefly with a left hand. Lauzon shot in and tried to lock up Miller’s leg, but the ensuing scramble saw New Jersey’s Miller escape and get upright. Lauzon remained aggressive, Miller countering well, with a knee to the head the biggest blow. With a little over two minutes left, Miller missed a spinning elbow and fell to the canvas, Lauzon pouncing on him. After Lauzon scored with some ground strikes, Miller scrambled back to this feet and continued landing hard bows to the body and head as the round closed.
The two took turns teeing off on each other in round two, Lauzon starting strong and Miller answering, but a caught kick by Lauzon allowed him to put Miller on his back for a second time. Both fighters traded elbows on the mat, but Lauzon kept positional control until the horn sounded.
Staying aggressive to start round three, Miller appeared to rattle Lauzon and he upped his work rate even higher. But Lauzon shook off the barrage and resumed his forward motion, eventually getting Miller to the mat once more. After a spell on the ground, Miller found daylight, but by the end of the round, Lauzon had the upper hand on the mat again, nearly sinking in an armbar before the end of the fight.
With his four kids in attendance for the first time, lightweight veteran Jim Miller earned his 30th pro win, submitting Jason Gonzalez in the first round.
Miller struck first with a hard left that caught Gonzalez’ attention, but Gonzalez threw back hard, prompting Miller to look for – and get – a takedown. Gonzalez got up, but Miller stayed on his foe’s back and sunk in the rear naked choke that forced the Californian to tap out at 2:12 of the opening frame.
With the win, New Jersey’s Miller moves to 30-13 with 1 NC. Gonzalez falls to 11-5.
Lightweight veteran Jim Miller showed that he still has some tricks up his sleeve against the young guns of the division, as he submitted Roosevelt Roberts in the first round of a 160-pound catchweight bout.
An early exchange saw Roberts slip to the deck, which allowed Miller to get into his wheelhouse on the mat. After a spell on his back, Roberts scrambled and appeared to be seconds away from getting to his feet, but Miller locked in an armbar, and that was it, as Roberts tapped out at 2:25 of the opening frame.
With the win, Miller - the man tied with Donald Cerrone with the most fights in UFC history with 35 – moves to 32-14 with 1 NC. Roberts falls to 10-2.