Skip to main content
Jim Miller celebrates his submission victory over Jason Gonzalez
Athletes

Jim Miller Hunts More Than Just Wins

UFC Veteran Jim Miller Is Hunting His 24th UFC Victory At UFC 276, But Winning Isn't The Only Thing That Miller Has Expertise In.

It was probably cruel to talk food with Jim Miller less than two weeks before his UFC 276 fight in Las Vegas this Saturday, but once the news came down later that week that the New Jersey native wasn’t going to have cut weight for what is now a welterweight bout against short-notice replacement foe Donald Cerrone, I felt a little better.

Not that it likely bothered Miller anyway, as the 38-year-old has always been the consummate professional, and hey, the guy likes his food. So much so that he recently released his first book, The Fighters Cookbook (https://thefighterscookbook.com/). Yeah, move over celebrity chefs, “A-10” is coming. And though the idea of recipes featuring wild game could frighten some with less adventurous palates, Miller assures that everything in the book applies to any form of meat.

“All the recipes are adapted from beef, pork, chicken,” said Miller, who elaborates on the reason for the book, which is more than just about some good grub. It’s about how a change in his diet helped him deal with the Lyme disease he has dealt with since 2013.

“It tells my story with Lyme, and how food - and eating a really clean diet - is one of the things that helped me get over it. We tell that story and my methods for cooking and my idea behind food and stuff like that and why I like to use wild game.”

Order UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier

So Jersey kids aren’t just eating pizza, deep fried hotdogs and funnel cake down at the shore?

Uh, no.

“For me, there's more of a connection to what's on the plate when you put the work into it,” said Miller, who is also an avid hunter. “I've had the opportunity to buy some really nice steaks for people close to me and go to some nice restaurants after fights and it's great, we have a great time, and it just doesn't feel the same. The times that I've cooked some venison backstraps for people that have never had venison before and done it super simple, and the look on their face, like, 'Oh my God, this is so good,' it's just a different experience to me.”

There is something to be said for providing food for yourself and your family in a hands on manner, and that’s something that’s been in the Miller family DNA for a long, long time.

UFC 276 Fighters Answer Jim Miller Trivia | UFC 276
UFC 276 Fighters Answer Jim Miller Trivia | UFC 276
/

“My grandfather was a butcher in the Navy, so I was able to learn a little bit from him,” Miller said. “But my brothers and I didn't have an early start in hunting. My father, they were pretty much dirt floor poor, so it was hunting to feed the family, and he grew up with it. My brothers and I grew up with the stories of it. We were enthralled with it. And once my oldest brother got his driver's license, that's when we got our hunting licenses because we had to go and take the course. I shot my first deer when I was 17 years old.”

Since then, it’s become a bigger part of his life, and while he’s self-effacing in terms of his skills in the kitchen, check out some of the meals on his Instagram account, and they could make the pickiest eater get on board.

“Food has always been a big part of my life and my family life,” he said. “I come from a family of really great cooks, and I consider myself the worst in the family when it comes right down to it. (Laughs) I think that I'm probably the most well-rounded. It's one of those jack of all trades, master of none type things. Both of my brothers - Daniel and Michael - they're really, really good. But it's always been one of those things - there's always food, it's always around food, it's always around cooking and preparing, and everybody says the kitchen's always the place for parties and stuff like that, and that's totally the way it's always been in my family.”

MORE UFC 276: Fight By Fight Preview | Reasons To Watch | Coach Conversation

What Miller will admit is that while he’s not the best cook in the family, he’s probably the best – or as he puts it, “most successful” hunter in the Miller clan, which makes him quite popular in November.

“Thanksgiving is always my favorite holiday because it means that everybody's cooking,” he said. “And it's centered around preparing and sharing. I happen to be the most successful hunter out of the family, so that's my contribution usually that I bring wild game to the mix. This last Thanksgiving, I brought a wild game gumbo with andouille sausage that I made from black bear that I shot, I put in some pheasants that I had shot, and my son and I did a little squirrel hunting, and we threw some squirrel in there just for s**ts and giggles.”

Yes, squirrel.

Jim Miller's Best Finishes
Jim Miller's Best Finishes
/

“They're a little tough,” said Miller, who admits a little switch in preparation might have changed that result. So yeah, this might not be for everybody, but Miller isn’t interested in arguing over it. If you want to have a conversation, that’s a different matter, and when you do talk to him about it, it’s a fascinating chat. Why else would we be talking about food when Miller is looking to take the momentum from his back-to-back knockouts of Erick Gonzalez and Nikolas Motta into a fight where he can not only even the score with Cerrone – who beat him in 2014 – but break his tie with “Cowboy” and Andrei Arlovski for most wins in UFC history?

Because it’s an interesting topic, especially in this day and age of overly processed foods and meat prices shooting through the roof. And while Miller is no preacher, he is generous with his knowledge on the matter.

UFC 276 COUNTDOWN: Adesanya vs Cannonier | Volkanovski vs Holloway 3 | Munhoz vs O'Malley | Full Episode

“We sacrifice our health for convenience,” he said. “If we're traveling, I fall victim to it. I eat stuff that I know that I shouldn't eat and I know that's gonna make me feel gross. And then when I get home, we cook primarily from whole foods. It's a very simple way of cooking in my house - a basic protein, if I have some wild game, we'll have that, and then a majority of the time, it's some broccoli, roasted bell peppers or asparagus, and we'll throw in a starch of some sort. It's very clean stuff, I know that it helped me get over Lyme disease, and I feel like it's helped me continue my career as well.”

But what about the big question…how do the four Miller kids feel about this whole thing?

View Miller's Athlete Profile

“My kids are great,” he said. “They have their picky moments. My 10-year-old son, Wyatt, he will eat anything, and he will out eat most adults. (Laughs) As a four-year-old, he would eat anything; there was never an issue. The other three, you get some pushback and stuff like that here and there. There are things that they don't like, but they know that I'm a hunter and that I spend time doing it and I enjoy doing it. They know it's part of our lifestyle.”

I may even try venison now, though that comes with a disclaimer from Miller.

“When I was a kid, I didn't like it, either.”

Order UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier

UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier took place on Saturday, July 2, 2022 live T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass