Jim Miller doesn’t understand the concept of “sit and wait.”
Despite a title shot possibly sitting within his grasp, Miller doesn’t want to take a break from fighting and be on the sidelines for six or eight months waiting for a title bout to magically appear.
Miller would much rather keep his claws sharpened and his skills honed, not to mention picking up a paycheck along the way, which is why he’s facing Ben Henderson this weekend at UFC on Versus 5 instead of taking a break to see if he gets the next crack at the lightweight title.
A winner of seven fights in a row, Miller will try to pick up number eight when he heads to Milwaukee and faces the former WEC lightweight champion. No risk, no reward. That’s how Miller sees his constant activity, and while some may see his fight with Henderson as a gamble, it’s his faith in his own skills that makes the New Jersey native believe this is just money in the bank.
“Of course you’re risking things, you never want to lose when you’ve built up a string of wins and stuff like that, and if you have earned a title shot, but in my opinion I feel like I can beat anybody in the world,” Miller told MMAWeekly Radio.
“So taking another fight is just another guy I get to beat. There shouldn’t be anybody below the champ that’s going to give you that tough of a fight, in my opinion. If I’m ready to be the UFC champion, I should be able to beat anybody else in the UFC.”
A gym rat when he’s home in New Jersey, Miller loves the grind of working out every day and learning something new when he’s working with training partners and his coaches.
His work ethic and consistent fight scheduling that saw him put in four fights in 2010 is what led Miller to his current 20-2 record. The bout against Henderson will be his second of 2011.
Miller also knows that his dedication to training is uncommon in MMA, and that most fighters, while tremendous athletes, don’t always want to hit the gym.
“A vast majority of fighters are lazy when it comes down to it,” said Miller. “So you have a couple of months off, you end up not really doing anything, playing around in the gym here and there, and not fully utilizing that time.
“I don’t plan on fighting till I’m 40 years old. I have a limited time, so I’d like to get as many fights in, in that time and use my training to the utmost.”
Miller has done that and more as he gets ready for his match-up with Ben Henderson.
When the team AMA Fight Club fighter looks at Henderson, he sees a lot of similarities to his own game, and that’s why he expects their bout to be a real crowd-pleaser.
“He’s very similar to me honestly. He’s very well rounded, he’s a tough guy, he’s dangerous with submissions, he’s a very talented striker, it should be a fun fight, we match up really well,” Miller commented.
“I’m better when it’s a fast-paced fight and when things are a little reckless, that’s when I tend to do better and capitalize.”
If there is one part of Henderson’s game that Miller looks at as something he can take advantage of, it’s his tendency to get out of bad positions. While Henderson has shown tremendous will, flexibility, and strength in getting out of submissions, takedowns and other bad positions, Miller sees all of those things as an opening to put him away.
“The thing about being known for getting out of submissions and stuff like that is that you’ve been put in quite a few of them. It’s like being known to be able to take a punch. It means you’ve been punched in the face enough times for people to remember it,” Miller said.
“It’s bound to catch up with him. Somebody’s bound to catch him in a sub that he puts himself in. I’ve been training my ass off, and hopefully it’s me the first time.”
If Miller is able to submit or just defeat Henderson in any way, UFC president Dana White has said he’s more than likely next in line to fight for the lightweight title. Miller, however, will worry about that when this fight is behind him, because looking ahead can sometimes cost you in the present.
“I’ll have a lot more thoughts about it on the 15th with a victory,” Miller stated. “Right now, my one and only focus when it comes to fighting is this fight with Ben Henderson. The UFC, it’s a business, and we’ll see what happens. I’ll believe it when I have the bout agreement in front of me.”