If there’s one question that you can ask Jim Miller as he heads into his UFC on Fox 3 main event bout against Nate Diaz that will rile him up, just mention getting a shot at the title.
Miller, who might be one of the nicest guys outside the cage, whether it’s in casual conversation or in an interview, has been asked about fighting for the title so much over the last year or so that it’s almost devalued the entire concept of battling for the gold.
When Miller has a contract in hand that says he’s fighting for the belt, then it’s open season, but until that time he just wants to focus on the task at hand.
“The way it is right now, there’s no one that’s really set themselves apart and has that winning streak against top guys that really could be the No. 1 guy. I think a win here definitely does put me ahead of most guys, but I’m not worried about it. I’m actually sick of talking about it to be honest,” Miller told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “It comes up in just about every interview I do, guys with a handful of fights in the UFC are bringing up title shots, every press conference, every other question to every other guy is about title shots.
“This is an opportunity to be No. 1 and it’s not something that you should get fights just asking for it. It’s something that should be earned. Something that I hold very dearly. Something that I’ve invested a lot of time and work in to earn that opportunity. I’m kind of getting tired of everybody talking about it.”
It was announced on Wednesday that if Miller’s opponent Nate Diaz won in their fight on Saturday night that he would indeed get the next crack at the title.
On the other side however, if Miller defeats Diaz, he’s still “a fight or two” away from a title shot. Truth be told, Miller doesn’t really mind one way or the other, he just wants to go out there and fight, please the fans, get a paycheck, and go home.
The title shot will happen when the title shot happens.
“It’s starting to wear on me and take a little bit of the value away from it,” Miller said about the championship questions.
“So much can happen, so much can change; you’ve just got to focus on the guy in front of you and leave it at that.”
The guy in front of him is a very dangerous opponent in the form of Nate Diaz. Since moving back down to 155 pounds, Diaz has gone 2-0, picking up impressive wins over former Pride champion Takanori Gomi and most recently dispatching of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Much like his brother Nick, if you allow Nate Diaz to fight his fight, there aren’t too many fighters out there that will last very long.
So Miller’s plan is pretty simple: don’t let Diaz fight his fight.
“If you let them dictate the pace, they not only beat you, they make you look bad. That’s what I try to do to. If somebody’s going to let me play my game, they aren’t going to survive very long in the Octagon with me. With him, I don’t want to play his game. I want him to fight my fight. He’s been beaten by guys who out wrestle him, but it’s still a tough fight. It’s still going to be tough to beat him even fighting my fight. My game plan is to make them deal with me and definitely fight my fight,” said Miller.
“If I dictate the pace and do what I want to do, nobody’s going to beat me at that. You’re not going to beat me being defensive the whole fight.”
The other part about fighting a Diaz brother is their ability to verbally draw an opponent into a fight. Both Nate and Nick are infamous for shouting at their opponents during fights, calling them names, and basically trying to get the fly to fall into the spider’s web.
Well, the bad news for Nate Diaz in this fight is Jim Miller also grew up with two brothers, and he’s doubtful that there’s anything that can come from the mouth of the Stockton, Calif., native that he hasn’t already heard more than a few times.
“I grew up with three siblings so anything that’s said in there is sticks and stones. I just don’t worry about that stuff. Not give him the opportunity to talk. I’m not here to play the games and all that stuff. If it comes down to that, he can worry about talking. I’m not going to be. I’m going to try to punch him as hard as I can and choke him out,” said Miller.
“They’re terms of endearment in the Miller household. That’s how we show affection.”