Jim Miller has faced a lot of tough fighters throughout his career, but not knowing much about an opponent can be just as intimidating as facing the best competition in the world.
The unknown is what Miller faces on Saturday night in Montreal when he squares off with Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira. With only two fights in the UFC and little footage otherwise, Miller expects the unexpected from his opponent, and that has already helped him in training.
“The unknown is always what plays with your mind a little bit,” Miller told MMAWeekly Radio. “With somebody I’ve seen fight a couple times, it’s like, okay I know what they bring to the table and with him we really don’t know that much about him.”
Miller confesses that he’s not big on watching fight footage anyways when it comes to breaking down his opponents. He leaves that up to his coaches, and makes it his goal to follow their lead and then unleash on the man standing across the Octagon from him.
“My goal is to fight my fight, and make him fight my fight,” said Miller. “My trainers’ jobs, they’re supposed to break it down for me, and see the little tendencies and stuff like that. My goal is to be as ready and adaptable as possible.”
Going into the fight, Miller is actually rated as a slight underdog by many of the sportsbooks to the upstart Oliveira. It’s with good reason then that Miller is obviously not looking past the Brazilian, and knows even though he’s young, he’s very dangerous.
“I’m never nervous when I know I have to fight my best to win this fight, I get more nervous when it’s like I should beat this guy. He’s not really one of those guys, he’s very dangerous,” Miller stated.
At 14-0, Oliveira has been impressive throughout his young career, but Miller knows that can also play against him in the right moments of this fight.
Has he been pushed before? Does he know what it’s like to have an opponent gun to finish him? Those are questions that Miller wants to answer on Saturday night.
“I like to break guys and see them crack,” he admitted. “I don’t know if he’s going to crack, but I’m definitely going to be trying to do it and putting all the pressure I can on him.”
Outside of a loss to Gray Maynard in 2009, Miller has been untouched in his UFC career, racking up seven victories. If he can get past Oliveira at UFC 124, the New Jersey native is ready to set out on his career goal, which is to get into title contention in the lightweight division.
“I pull off this win on the 11th and that’s six in a row and 8-1 in the UFC. There aren’t many matches for that; there aren’t many guys that have that type of record,” Miller said. “The one other guy that’s similar to that at lightweight is (George) Sotiropoulos. I thought they would probably sit him till my fight cause there was only three weeks total in between, maybe a month, and see how my fight panned out before they gave him a fight. They want him on that Australia card, which makes sense.
“I want that contendership fight after this. I pull this win off, I want a big one.”
Miller will likely get his wish if he cruises past Oliveira on Saturday in Montreal.