Now holding the UFC record for most fights and wins in the promotion’s history, Jim Miller tries to separate himself from the rest of the pack when he returns to the Octagon this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Blanchfield.
Last time out, Miller challenged fellow legend Donald Cerrone at International Fight Week’s premier event, UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier. The two met eight years prior at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Cerrone capped off an impressive performance with a devastating head kick late in the second round.
At UFC 276, they came into their rematch tied for the most wins in UFC history. Miller, having relived his first loss to Cerrone in his head all these years, found this a perfect opportunity to cement his legacy in the UFC while exacting revenge on “Cowboy.”
This time around, Cerrone landed his patented head kick yet again but lost his footing in the process, allowing Miller to jump on a guillotine choke and close the show midway through the second round.
“I had a little PTSD from our first fight,” Miller said. “That first fight I was in a lot of pain. He hit me with a knee in the very first exchange of the fight that bruised my spleen and hurt my body. If that wouldn’t have stopped most people, I think most people would’ve stopped the first time he threw that front kick and landed it.
“Donald’s an awesome guy; I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. It was kind of poetic to get to that point, tied with him [for the most wins in UFC history]. To beat him and to take the lead, it couldn’t have happened any better. And to avenge a loss is also cool.”
It’s been eight months since fans saw Miller step into the Octagon, but at home, it’s been nonstop action for the 18-year mixed martial arts veteran. But not in the way you’d expect.
Bonus Résumé | Jim Miller
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Bonus Résumé | Jim Miller
Miller spends most of his days outside of the gym renovating and working on his farm, which he deems a decade-long project. A father of four, Miller and his wife also run around town nonstop taking their kids to the various sports they’re involved in.
“It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind,” Miller said reflecting on the time since his bout with Cerrone. “We have the little farm and we’re trying to get that up to snuff. We bought a 10-year project if we work our asses off. It’s a 150-year-old house. Been working on that and trying to make it a little more “inflation proof” is what I like telling my wife and trying to produce a little bit more for us. Those projects and tinkering with things keep me sane and makes me appreciate training even more.
“Wintertime is when all the kids are in activities, so my wife and I are basically ships in the night passing each other. Everything came to an end at the same time: training camp, the winter sports, and we were doing bathroom renovations at the same time. It’s all coming together, and I’m going to fight and have a little bit of time to take a deep breath and relax. I wouldn’t have it any other way,”
Miller has devoted more time in the gym these last couple months in preparation for his upcoming bout this Saturday. Miller was originally scheduled to face Gabriel Benitez, who was forced out of the bout last week and replaced with Alexander Hernandez.
While a late opponent change might throw off some fighters’ entire training camp, Miller, who competes in his 53rd professional fight this weekend, has seen it all and is more focused on improving his own skills than worrying about what his opponent might bring to the table.
“I look at every opponent as a new opportunity, a new set of skills to show off my skill set against,” Miller said. “I’ve never been the type to pick this guy or pick that guy [to fight]. At this point I’ve fought them all and I feel like I should be able to deal with anything my opponent throws at me, so it’s really easy for me to have a change in opponent because a majority of my camp is me training to be the best Jim Miller that I can be.
“I have a series of things that I’m trying to hit in my training camp, and number one is to stay healthy and show up to the fight. I’ve definitely shown up less than 100 percent and there’s been a varying scale to that. Number two is showing up in shape, and I’m pretty good at that. Three is being as dangerous as I can be and drilling the things I’m good at, and four is worrying about what my opponent brings to the table because they got two hands, two feet and that’s really what it comes down to. Everybody’s built a little bit differently and that’s the cool part about this sport; you’re adapting everything to your body type and athleticism and natural gifts.”
Hernandez struggled to find a win in his 2022 campaign, suffering back-to-back defeats to Renato Moicano and Billy Quarantillo in his featherweight debut. When analyzing this matchup stylistically, Miller knows he has the tools necessary to get the job done, but that there isn’t any mystique when it comes to what he’ll show up with on fight night.
Having 52 fights of tape to look through, Miller believes Hernandez should know exactly what’s coming his way. Being able to stop it is an entirely different challenge.
“I don’t know if anything I’m going to throw at Alex will surprise him,” Miller said. “There shouldn’t be anything that surprises him. I’ve gotten to this point and survived this long inside the Octagon by fighting a certain style, and that’s aggressive but protected. I’m going to push forward [and] have an advantage when we hit the mat. He’s a good striker. I’ve got two knockouts in my last three fights, and you know that old man strength is finally coming in, the stiffening of the bones or whatever it is. There shouldn’t be any surprises. He should know what he’s going to get and that’s a hard fight. I’m going to come in there, fight bell to bell and leave it all in there.”
UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Blanchfield took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 18, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!