"I’ve always had the attitude that I want to finish my opponent. Even when I was a young wrestler it was all about the pin for me."
UFC Lightweight contender Jim Miller (18-2) is looking to win a little Christmas cheer in Montreal at UFC 124 next week, when he takes on highly touted, “Breakthrough Fighter of the Year” nominee Charles Oliviera (14-0).
The nomination came at the 2010 World MMA Awards on December 1, where once again UFC president Dana White won the “Leading Man of the Year” category, dedicating the award to the fans.
For Miller, while he’s happy for the success the 21-year old Oliviera had in 2010, he’s looking to bring the young Brazilian back to reality.
“I don’t think he’s fought anybody like me,” says Miller. “I think I match up pretty well and will be able to use my size advantage, and I should be able to dictate where the fight goes. He’s a tough opponent, but I’ve fought a wide variety of sizes and styles. I’ve had twenty fights and I always try to get the toughest fights I can get. I’ve fought great strikers, great wrestlers and great grapplers. He falls into one of those guys who are well rounded but not so dangerous in any one of those aspects of his game. He’s very confident and that’s a dangerous weapon to have because he’ll go anywhere but I’m definitely ready. I hope he’s not taking me lightly.”
Jim is motivated to finish Oliveira, after what he calls a disappointing unanimous decision victory over Gleison Tibau at UFC Fight Night 22 in September in Austin, TX.
“That was a tough fight, because I expended more energy than I ever have before, just trying to force the action and getting Gleison to engage,” he said. “He wasn’t having any of it, and let me tell you, my lungs hurt for three days after that fight. It was really hard on me. But you’re never going to see me happy over a decision.”
Oliveira choked out both Darren Elkins and Efrain Escudero, winning Submission of the Night honors in his first two UFC bouts, but with Miller, he’s running into someone who matches up very differently. Miller is a strong wrestler with very good submissions, and he believes his size advantage will be difficult for the BJJ ace to overcome.
“Like I said, he’s had a good year,” says Miller. “He choked out both of his opponents but they haven’t been high profile guys I don’t think. I think I’m his toughest test so far so we’ll see how he deals with it.”
Oliveira knows he’s in for the fight of his life against Miller, telling UFC.com “Mr. Miller has never been finished, he’s only lost decisions,” and that “he brings the fight.”
And it’s exactly that knowledge from his opponent that Miller says will make for an exciting fight, one that could very well end up with some kind of fight bonus before the night is over.
“It’s always great to win a submission or fight of the night bonus,” says Miller, “but you can’t focus on that. I’ve always had the attitude that I want to finish my opponent. Even when I was a young wrestler it was all about the pin for me. Going into the Octagon with that attitude, coupled with Charles’ desire to keep up the hype train, yeah, that will make for an exciting matchup.”
For Miller, a win bonus will mean more gifts for his six month old daughter, whom he plans to spoil this Christmas even though she probably won’t remember.
“She’s my first little girl so yeah, we’re definitely looking to make Christmas memorable, but I have a big family and there’s a lot of reasons to win some Christmas cheer on December 11.”
Fighting on one of the most anticipated cards of the year – and that’s saying a lot considering this is a year that saw Frankie Edgar beat BJ Penn twice, Brock Lesnar come back from illness, survive, and then submit Shane Carwin, only to lose his belt later to Cain Velasquez, and Anderson Silva nearly lose for the first time in the UFC against Chael Sonnen – the main event at UFC 124 pits welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre against challenger Josh Koscheck.
Miller says while Koscheck has the power to pull off an upset knockout, his money’s on the champion.
“I’m leaning toward GSP,” says Miller. “He’s just got too many tools for Koscheck to handle.”
And being able to witness a championship fight firsthand only gives Miller even more motivation for a win against Oliveira.
“A win here would put me in the position for an overall contender fight,” he said. “I think I don’t get as much respect from some of the guys because I haven’t had a big name. But it’s not that I don’t want it or I haven’t been asking for it. I think I deserve the same kind of hype that Evan Dunham’s been getting.”
Free Prelims on UFC.com/Live
For the first time ever, two preliminary bouts will be aired live and free online at http://www.ufc.com/live.
The Dustin Hazelett vs Mark Bocek and Dan Miller vs Joe Doerksen fights
will be available to everyone worldwide at no charge starting at 9pm
ET/ 6pm PT/ 2am GMT.