New Jersey’s own Jim Miller will step into the Octagon at the Prudential Center to take on Beneil Dariush at UFC on FOX 15. To a veteran of the sport, having homefield advantage means that the comforts of home are near and after the fight, Miller fully intends on grabbing some ice cold beers with those close to him. But to the Sparta native, it doesn’t matter where he fights or who’s in the crowd to catch a glimpse of him at battle, once the cage door closes he switches gears.
Whenever the experienced lightweight engages an opponent, his only thought is to obliterate whoever stands between him and a win. That warrior spirit is what has fueled Miller to compete at a top level for the past 10 years and what has carried him to the no. 12 spot in the UFC lightweight rankings. He’ll stop at nothing to get the result he wants when he headlines the FOX preliminary card on Saturday night.
Miller was initially expected to confront Paul Felder on the fight card. But Felder withdrew to injury and Dariush accepted the short notice fight. Dariush is riding a 3-fight win streak and last defeated Daron Cruickshank just a month ago at UFC 185. While most fighters might scurry trying to prepare a unique gameplan for each particular opponent they’ve yet to face, Miller said the only difference he really concerned himself with was their stances. Dariush’s a southpaw and Felder’s orthodox. Other than that, the 31-year-old athlete said no adjustments are necessary.
“I see a guy in front of me that’s trying to beat me up and trying to make a name for himself off of me,” Miller told Fight Corner. “It’s the 19th time that I’ll be stepping into the Octagon, so it’s nothing new and I’m excited for the fight. It didn’t matter if it was Felder or anybody else who stepped up, I’m still going to be fighting and trying to do the same thing that I’m going to try to do on Saturday and that’s show exactly what I’m capable of and have a dominant performance.”
In his 19 outings in the UFC, Miller has a record of 13-4, 1 NC. In that span, he’s finished eight opponents and earned four post-fight bonuses. However, one thing’s eluded him in that time. The closest he’s ever got to a shot at the belt was facing Nate Diaz in a title eliminator in 2012. He was submitted for the first time ever in his career that night, but has worked to rack up the wins and rebuild.
Having faced some of the division’s most relentless fighters in his time, Miller realizes that for someone like Dariush, a win over him means he could edge his way up the divisional ladder. But Miller has no intention of allowing that to happen on his watch.
“I’ve fought plenty of these guys that were making names for themselves, had a couple of fights, and I’ve done pretty well against them,” Miller said. “It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t get in my head or anything like that. It’s another fight and I just have to be confident and prepared for anything, and I am. I’m looking forward to having a good night on Saturday.”
After all the training camps and all the years of sweating, grinding and sacrificing time away from his family to get ahead, Miller hasn’t lost his passion for the sport. In fact, he’s more motivated than ever to continue to prove that true warriors exist.
“I fell in love with MMA years ago and when guys were fighting, basically they were fighting in a way that they just wanted to win the fight. It wasn’t so much a point game and there was a bit more of that bushido, that warrior spirit and it kind of got exuded by some of the guys. But that actually fired me to get into the sport.
“I was like, ‘I want to fight and I want to fight like those guys, like a Wanderlei [Silva] or Renzo [Gracie], [Kazushi] Sakuraba, Fedor [Emelianenko], just go out and put everything I have into the fight. And if that’s not enough, then you hold your head up that you went in there and you did as much as you could.’ But that’s my goal every time, to fight as hard as I can fight,” Miller continued. “My goal is to dominantly beat my opponent and finish them and put them away. I’ve never enjoyed having to hear a judges decision. I’ve never been excited about going to the judges and hearing my name called. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled when it comes down to it winning a decision, maybe in my first fight.
“I’m just trying to do everything that I can do and that means finish somebody in front of me. And that’s what drives me, that desire to be so dominant over somebody that I force them to quit. Basically (laughs), it’s like the little man complex, but that’s kind of what drives me.”
Jim Miller will clash with Beneil Dariush at UFC on FOX 15. Their lightweight battle headlines the FOX preliminary card on Saturday, Apr. 16.