UFC lightweight contender Jim Miller, who co-headlines this Sunday's UFC on Versus 5 against Ben Henderson, spoke to Sherdog's Jack Encarnacao about his fighting philosophy, his family, and how his low-key personality may have hindered his ascension to a title shot.
On leaving it all in the Octagon:
"I want my corner to have to carry me out of the Octagon," he says. "That’s what I’m searching for; that’s what I’m fighting for -- is that level. Just to lay it all out there, to actually give 100 percent in 15 minutes. To me, if I go out and I fight and put everything I have into it, I can be satisfied with a loss.
"One thing I don’t understand is when guys go to a decision and are hopping around afterwards, doing push-ups, doing all this stuff after they just lost the decision," Jim adds. "In my mind, I’m not going to be proud of myself if I go 15 or 25 minutes and lose and still have something in the tank."
Encarnacao also spoke to Mike and Barbara Miller, the parents of Jim and Dan Miller:
Mike Miller and his wife, Barbara, faithfully attended their sons’ wrestling meets and consider their UFC fights a natural extension. They have only missed two of their fights: one because Mike had surgery and could not fly and another because a family dog chewed up Barbara’s passport, preventing her from boarding a flight to England for Jim’s UFC debut in 2008. Mike, by the way, went.
"That’s how much of a diehard [I am]," he says. "I left my wife in [the] airport and said, ‘See you later’ and got on the plane and went to England and watched him fight. My boys won’t let me go on the Underground [Internet forum]. I can’t get a user name, because I would wind up getting in arguments with people."
Barbara will one-up her husband at the end of the month, when she travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for Dan’s bout against Rousimar Palhares at UFC 134. She will literally be in her son’s corner for the fight, holding the water bucket. Mike will stay home to look after Jim’s wife, who is expecting the couple’s second child, and Dan’s son, who will be undergoing surgery. He does not feel left out, even though his wife and eldest son will be able say they have cornered one of Dan’s fights.
"The only one who hasn’t cornered is me," he says. "I’ll get the corner in one of [Jim’s] title defenses."
Finally, Jim also touches on an issue that's been a frequent topic of discussion among MMA journalists: whether his lack of "marketability" and unwillingness to demand a title shot have prevented him from getting a crack at Frankie Edgar's belt:
“Everybody was talking like Jim was the underdog in that fight [against Charles Oliveira], so Jim really took it personal,” Constantino says, “and you saw the outcome of that. I was very proud of him for that performance -- the way he dealt with the adversity and the disrespect.”
Jim admits the feeling moved him the closest he has ever come to trash talking, an activity he pledged to himself he would not engage in, despite people in his ear telling him it could accelerate his path to a shot at the 155-pound crown.
“People that know me would know that’s not something I normally do,” he says. “And by now, anybody who’s a fan of the UFC and has seen me fight and heard me talk knows that it’s not me. So why do you want to see me do it? You would know that it’s not me, that it’s fake and it’s a lie, and you shouldn’t gain any entertainment value out of that, knowing that it’s just all B.S.
“I’m not the mouthy guy in the bar,” Jim adds. “I’m sitting back in the corner just relaxing, having a beer.”