Posts Tagged ‘Jim Miller’

UFC 168: Jim Miller’s Garden State of mind

UFC lightweight Jim Miller. (

Jim Miller is spending this holiday season over 2,500 miles away from family and friends.

The UFC lightweight fights three nights from now at UFC 168 in Vegas. But Nevada isn’t where Miller (Twitter: @JimMiller_155) calls home; that honor’s reserved for New Jersey. Given he’s cross-country this year, Miller’s thus grappling with two challenges before Saturday’s battle – defeating his next opponent and isolation from his loved ones.

“I’ve fought around New Year’s in Las Vegas before and it’s quite the atmosphere,” the 22-4 (1) MMA veteran said on MMADiehards’ Dec. 9 MMA Cypher Radio. “It’s always crowded. It’s crazy even before Christmas and New Year’s Day.”

Such endless neon lights and tireless nightlife couldn’t differ more from Miller’s current residence in Whippany, N.J. The pro athlete lives and trains there, honing his skills at AMA Fight Club before coming home to his wife of over five years and their two daughters. Jersey isn’t just a line on Miller’s income tax forms, however – it’s the springboard which launched him into the Octagon.

“I feel that one of the reasons I am where I am and can succeed at the highest level is from fighting in New Jersey,” said Miller, a native of Sparta Township, N.J. “Coming up under the athletic commission here, my fights made sense and were against guys at an equal level. It really helped me.”

Miller entered professional MMA at Reality Fighting 10 in November 2005. Facing Eddie Fyvie in Atlantic City, he won his debut via unanimous decision. Repeatedly ranked among MMA’s top ten lightweights since, Miller’s success is a testament to New Jersey’s vibrant fight game. In addition to Miller and his older brother Dan, the state has helped toughen such MMA standouts as former UFC lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and current middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman.

“You see guys coming in with padded records and they don’t do so well when they get to the highest levels,” Miller said of elite MMA. “You need to build experience and comfort in big fights.”

“Our athletic commission here always had fights pushing me to evolve to that next level,” he continued. “You had the right path. You were nurtured when you needed to be nurtured and pushed when you needed to be pushed.”

Garden State combat sports forged Miller into the well-rounded threat he presents today. Come Saturday, he’ll need every weapon in his arsenal against Fabricio “Morangò” Camões. The 14-7-1 Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist is feared for his craftiness and airtight submission holds.

“I’m always looking for the toughest opponent and Camões is a very tough opponent,” Miller admitted. “He’s very experienced and has been around for awhile.”

Chief among Camões’ attacks are suffocating, vice-like chokes. They’re a daunting obstacle for Miller, who’s fallen to similar holds in two of his last three fights. Though one of those – an April tilt at UFC 159 where Pat “Bam Bam” Healy won the bout, but then lost a post-fight drug test – was later ruled a no contest, Miller’s eager to prove submissions aren’t a weakness.

“A few guys have submitted me recently and they earned it,” Miller confessed. “I game-plan a little bit but I try not to focus on anything too specifically for any of my opponents. My main goal is to show up physically prepared and ready for a hard fight.”

New Jersey is already celebrating Miller’s performance regardless of Saturday’s outcome. Its Martial Arts Hall of Fame selected him as one of its 2013 inductees. One of 2012′s inaugural members – Mike Constantino – also trains Miller at AMA Fight Club.

“It’s a great honor and pretty cool,” Miller said of his award. “I just got notice in the mail a few months ago that I’m this year’s male MMA Fighter of the Year.”

It’s an honor he isn’t taking lightly. Much like the warriors of old, mixed martial artists defend their kingdoms every time they battle. Miller’s no different, and the Jersey native hopes he’ll do right by his birthplace Saturday night. For now, he’s feeling dangerous before showtime in Vegas, nearly a continent away from home.

“My time off recently was to try and fix some of the health problems I’ve been having,” Miller said of a nagging shoulder injury. “It’s given me time to heal up and it actually worked. I feel better than I have in a year.”

MMA Cypher Radio: Jim Miller, Alex Gasson


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At 7 p.m. ET, tonight, MMA Cypher Radio hosts Jason Kelly (Twitter: @JayMMADieHards) and Corey Charron (@charronkotd) welcome UFC lightweight Jim Miller and Pecker’d Promotions owner Alex Gasson.

Miller (@JimMiller_155) is coming off a No Contest bout against Pat Healy, following his three-round brutalization of Joe Lauzon.  Miller meets Fabrício Camões at UFC 168 on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas.  We’ll chat with the AMA Fight Club member about his upcoming bout and climb back up the UFC ladder to a championship match.

Gasson (@Pecker17) is a Team Tompkins member who abandoned competition for promoting.  After orchestrating various Grapplers Quest events in Ontario, Gasson has started his own amateur fight promotion, AMMA, and is approaching the organization’s championship event on Saturday in Burlington, Ontario.

UFC 159: Miller not overlooking Healy, rematches en route to title

UFC lightweight Jim Miller. (Photo: Hector Castro/

Jim Miller is welcoming all competitors, unfamiliar or well-known, on his path to a UFC championship.

Miller (Twitter: @JimMiller_155) fights Pat Healy on Saturday at UFC 159 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.  While Miller is a UFC veteran, and Healy is a UFC newcomer, they both have fought the top names in the sport.

Healy owns a 29-16 record with notable wins over Carlos Condit and Paul Daley.  The experienced mixed martial artist is well-versed in all facets of MMA, but shines in the grappling department, as 15 of his victories came via submission.  Making his Octagon entrance by way of the UFC/ Strikeforce merger, Healy is riding a five-fight win streak.

Though, relatively unknown to casual fans, Healy is a combatant Miller views as a serious threat.

“The way I approach it, he’s a very dangerous fighter with some great wins and a lot of experience,” Miller told  “He’s a talented guy, so that’s where the danger lies.  I don’t really take into account what people think of my opponent.  I’m the fighter, I’m the professional and I have respect for him.  I know what he’s capable of and that’s what matters to me.”

While Healy has slugged it out with some of today’s stars several years ago, Miller has been fighting the world’s best 155-pound mixed martial artist in recent times.

Miller is coming off an unforgettable performance against Joe Lauzon at UFC 155; however, prior to that the AMA Fight Club teammate lost a title eliminator match against Nate Diaz.  The other three losses in Miller’s 26-fight career were at the hands of Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar and current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.

Edgar has abandoned the division for a fresh start in the 145-pound weight class.  Diaz was recently defeated by Josh Thomson at “UFC on Fox 7,” but still sits sixth in the rankings.  Maynard occupies the No. 3 slot in the ranks, Miller is fourth and Henderson is the champ.

The outcome against Healy, win or lose, could set up one of numerous, inevitable rematches for Miller.

“Any of those guys are very good fighters,” Miller said.  “They’re talented guys, but this sport comes down to little things that happen inside the cage.  I know I could’ve beat any one of them on that night had some little things gone my way.  I’m looking for the opportunity to avenge something, but I’m not the type of guy that dreams about it.

“None of us are going anywhere.  They’re going to be around, there will be rematches and the fights are going to be different.  It’s just the way it is.  We’re all improving, we’re all human beings and sometimes we all make mistakes.  It’ll show in the fights, you just got to be the better guy.  I’m sure I’ll meet every one of them again.”

Miller preeminently would like a rematch against the champion, but would not shy away from the opportunity to compete against any combatant that caused a blemish on his record.

Though, Miller is not one to spend his days dreaming about a title shot, he said he hopes a win at UFC 159 will bring him close to it.  With the No 1 contender, Anthony Pettis, vacating the division for a chance at UFC featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo, the next challenger for the belt is undecided.

Considering the circumstances, the right performance on Miller’s end and a title fight may come sooner than later.

“It all comes down to leaving an imprint on people’s minds,” Miller said.  “That’s what I aim to do.  I aim to go in there and be violent, take it to him and put him away.  If I can do that and some of the other fights are lackluster, the right guys win and the right guys lose, then who knows?  I could be next in line.”

Whether he’s next or only advancing in line, Miller will meet familiar faces in due time.

UFC 155 recap: Velasquez wins belt in rematch, Miller bests Lauzon in instant classic, Philippou earns fifth straight victory

UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (R) punches Junior dos Santos (L) at UFC 155. (Photo courtesy of

In the final UFC event of 2012, UFC 155 provided a new heavyweight champion and a night full of night of blood, bruises and bumps.

Cain Velasquez lived up to the name of his sponsor and dethroned royalty at UFC 155.

Junior dos Santos, the fighter who took Velasquez’s UFC heavyweight title in November 2011, was expected to come out on top again in their rematch, but midway through Round 1 it apparent history was not about to repeat itself.  Velasquez avoided the thunderous punches from dos Santos, while attacking and pummeling the champ.  Before dos Santos had a chance to find his range, Velasquez had the Brazilian dizzied from manhandling him with punches and takedowns.

Velasquez kept this performance up through four rounds, although dos Santos did show some life in the final frame.  In Round 5, dos Santos appeared to have caught his second wind and put together combinations, landing blows that had Velazquez playing the side of caution in order to hold on to a unanimous decision victory.

Velazquez became a two-time UFC heavyweight champion with the victory over dos Santos.  With a win each on their side and both combatants being at the top of the heavyweight division, Velasquez vs. Dos Santos could be a trilogy similar to bouts involving Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.

In the evening’s co-main event, Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon put on a fight that will be talked about for years to come.

Miller rushed Lauzon with punches and elbows that found their way through the “TUF 5” participant’s defense.  The elbows caused a deep gash on the forehead of Lauzon, leading to blood streaming down his face.  Referee Herb Dean interrupted the match to have a cageside doctor inspect the cut.  Lauzon was approved to continue fighting and the bout recommenced, which resulted in Miller battering his opponent until the end of Round 1.

Lauzon entered Round 2 with a horrific cut on his brow and a laceration on the top of his head.  Miller continued to bring the pain to Lauzon, but fortunately for the Boston native, he avoided additional significant cuts.  Miller was up 2-0 after the second frame, but the third stanza exhibited some of Lauzon’s skill set.

Though, Lauzon was overworked and punished to a bloody mess, Miller seemed to have emptied his gas tank in his efforts to finish his foe.  Lauzon took advantage and began winning the exchanges on their feet.  Lauzon didn’t put Miller in much trouble in the striking department, however, he did go for a flashy finish in the dying seconds.  Lauzon dropped to the mat, intentionally, and swept Miller’s legs out in an attempt the secure a heel hook.  Miller said following the bout that the submission was on tight, but he got out of the lock.  As Miller slipped out of the heel hook, Lauzon latched on a guillotine-choke until time expired in the fight.

Miller took home a decision victory (29-28×3) and is hovering around the top of the UFC lightweight division rankings, which means a win in his next bout could put the New Jersey native in title contention.

Constantinos Philippou climbed another rung on the proverbial UFC middleweight ladder with a win over Tim Boetsch.

Philippou was pinned against the cage by Boetsch early in the opening round, which nullified the Cypriot’s striking offence; his biggest asset.  Boetsch continued mauling his opponent and tried his best to wear down Philippou in Round 1, but fatigue seemed to set in on “Barbarian.”

In the second round, Philippou was getting the better of the exchanges on their feet and cut open Boetsch’s forehead with a punch.  With Boetsch bleeding, he shot for a takedown but was inadvertently poked in the eye.  After a brief pause in action the bout continued and Boetsch searched for another takedown.  He was ineffective in his efforts and Philippou landed on top of the American.  Philippou rained down elbows until the round ended.

In the third stanza, Philippou sprawled to avoid another of Boetsch’s takedowns, this time with ease, and ended up on top of “Barbarian” again.  Philippou planted elbows on Boetsch’s face and the cut began to bleed heavily.  Philippou dropped a series of hammerfists on Boetsch’s head until referee Kim Winslow halted the bout at the 2:11 mark of Round 3.

The victory gives Philippou five consecutive wins inside the Octagon and most definitely puts him in the mix.

In a match that was expected to be fairly equal beforehand, Yushin Okami dominated Alan Belcher.

Okami clinched with Belcher and shut down all offense from “The Talent.”  Whenever Belcher tried to put his Duke Roufus-trained striking to work, Okami would tie him up or take him down.  Once on the canvas, Belcher attempted to attack off his back, but Okami pressed his opponent to the floor and evaded damage.

Okami won a decisive unanimous decision (30-27×2, 29-28).

In a lackluster fight to kick off the main card, UFC newcomer by way of Strikeforce Derrick Brunson defeated Chris Leben.

Brunson was wise enough to stay out of the range of Leben’s powerful hands that have put many foes asleep in the past.  Once Leben closed the distance, Brunson was able to latch on bodylocks and take “The Crippler” at will.  Leben did attempt multiple submissions from the bottom, but was never close to securing one that threatened Brunson.

Brunson’s takedowns, which didn’t lead to much offense, were the story of the match.  Leben’s return to the Octagon following a nearly 14-month layoff may be to blame for his shabby performance, but the larger Brunson seemed to outclass the “TUF 1” veteran with wrestling.

Kudos to Brunson for earning a decision victory over “The Crippler,” but that was absolutely not Leben’s best performance.  The UFC newcomer’s next opponent ought to provide a viable challenge for the former Strikeforce middleweight.

UFC 155 results

Gray Maynard out, Jim Miller in against Joe Lauzon at UFC 155

UFC on Fox 3: Jim Miller talks about upcoming opponent, Nate Diaz

Hector Castro of catches up with Jim Miller and talks about his upcoming fight with Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3.  The event takes place May 5 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

MMA DieHards Counterpunch: UFC on Fox 3

Nick Diaz and Jim Miller set to face at UFC on Fox 3 (Photo courtesy of

MMA DieHards is back with another session of Counterpunch, taking on UFC on Fox 3, which takes place Saturday at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

UFC on Fox 3 features a lightweight title contender bout between Jersey’s own, Jim Miller and west coast fighter, Nate Diaz.  Welterweight Josh Koscheck looks to slow down Johny Hendricks pace, while Alan Belcher and Rousimar Palhares both look for their fourth straight win and Lavar Johnson meets Pat Barry to start the main card. put together a team of our finest writers to bring you Counterpunch for the event.  The group independently makes its selections for each fight. Minority picks will be defended by one of the panelists making that selection.

Joining us this week will be Joe Rizzo, Mark Hensch, Bob Badders and Robert G. Reynolds.

While unanimously selected fight winners are not covered, below is the listed match, the fighter being defended and the author of the defense.

Mike Massenzio vs. Karel Vemola
Defending Vemola: Mike Stetskowski

There’s a reason this fight was originally scheduled to be dark, with Vemola being 1-2 in the UFC, and Massenzio a dismal 2-4. I would love to make a pick with the whole hometown fighter winning with the crowd behind him but I’m taking Vemola here. I could pick it solely on nicknames, the “Terminator” being way better than “Master of Disaster.” I really feel the difference will be his size, what with the light heavyweight and heavyweight experience that Vemola has on his resume. “The Terminator” should take this in Rd. 2 via TKO.

Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker
Defending Lineker: Bob Badders

I’m not going to lie, this pick sure felt and looked a little cozier before Lineker missed weight by a pound and was fined $1,200. It’s hard to overlook his 13-fight win streak since dropping down to the bantamweight and flyweight classes, even if the sample is strictly from his home country of Brazil. The lighter weights are among the most competitive and populated in Brazil and Lineker has dominated there, most recently winning the Jungle Fight bantamweight belt. Saturday will mark his UFC debut and first fight outside Brazil. His weight issues, albeit minor, illustrate at least some reason for concern. The experience edge goes his way with 24 professional fights to just seven for Gaudinot. The question is can Gaudinot avoid Lineker’s knockout power in his hands or put a dent in his iron chin. It was a tough Friday for Lineker, but look for the 22-year old to make a name for himself Saturday night.

Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish
Defending Cholish: Bob Badders

On paper it should be easy to pick the winner of John Cholish vs. Dan Castillo. The WEC veteran Castillo has fought under the ZUFFA banner since 2008, going a combined 8-4 and entering off wins over Shamar Bailey and Anthony Njokuani. He’s been a staple of the lightweight division for over three years, no simple task in arguably the promotion’s deepest weight class. Cholish, however, may not be under the radar much longer. The Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product is John Danaher’s latest prodigy, combining Division I caliber wrestling with slick submissions. On his feet he is steadily improving as evident by his second-round knockout of Mitch Clarke at UFC 140. Cholish lost his first pro fight in 2007, but since then all he’s done is go 8-0 with seven finishes. I think Cholish is one of the top prospects waiting for an opportunity to shine. Here’s that chance. Cholish, by submission in an upset.

John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss
Defending Krauss: Mark Hensch

I’m picking Pascal Krauss largely because he seems like the more versatile fighter. “Panzer” picked up martial arts with a successful amateur boxing career, and from there he competed at the top level in wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu too.

Such diversity has left Krauss undefeated, and it’s a quality I believe he’ll retain after having his way with Hathaway. Though Hathaway has fought more experienced opponents, Krauss is equally at home trading leather as he is switching submission attempts. Variety is the spice of life, and I’ll wager that Krauss has too much of it for Hathaway to handle here.

Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson
Defending Johnson: Joe Rizzo

Johnson is making his second appearance on a FOX card, and the reason is because he is a heavyweight who is not afraid to go for knockouts.  Barry might not be the perfect opponent, with his powerful and accurate K-1-level kicks combined with sharp hands.  But Johnson is not looking for holes in order to sneak through his punches, he’s more willing to smash in order to get his hand raised.  Joey Beltran had never been knocked out until UFC on FOX 2 in January, but Johnson blasted his way to the KO of the night, anyway.  Just a slight underdog, Johnson has more than the puncher’s chance here, and will break through to get Barry before Barry gets him. If you’re looking at the over-under of 1 1/2 rounds, you might even want to wager on the quick finish.

Alan Belcher vs. Rousimar Palhares
Defending Belcher: Robert G. Reynolds

Not selecting Belcher in this situation may prove to be a costly mistake in the realm of Counterpunch.  Currently, he matches Palhares’ three fight win streak, however, the game changer here is going to be the take down defence of Belcher.

Sure, the Brazilian is a big, strong and has many tools to work Belcher with.  But once the storm has passed in the first round, Palhares is going to be frustrated and he will beg for the takedown; that is when the tables will turn.  Expect Belcher to start picking apart Palhares in the second round, ultimately finishing him via TKO early in the third round.

Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks
Defending Hendricks: Mark Hensch

This is an interesting, unpredictable matchup that I had trouble calling at first. I’m hanging my hat on Hendricks, however, as he edges out Koscheck every step of the way on paper.

For starters, Koscheck’s biggest weapon is his wrestling. Unfortunately for him, Hendricks is as good a grappler as he is. In terms of striking, Koscheck knows how to throw but “Bigg Rigg” lobs hands of stone that hit much, much harder. Last but not least, some say Koscheck’s experience gives him the edge, but I think that’s a copout to Hendricks’ youth, momentum and vitality.

The real x-factor here, however, is Koscheck’s camp. Formerly a diehard AKA member, he’s since made a messy break with his ex-teammates and one has to wonder how it’s altered his training. Though I don’t believe old dogs can’t learn new tricks, my guess is Koscheck’s new coaching will prove too big a change for an opponent who quite frankly would have equaled or exceeded him anyways. My educated guess is that Hendricks has this one bagged.

Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
Defending Miller: Joe Rizzo

As they so often do, my colleagues have left me a gift, picking the underdog Diaz against the solidly favored Miller.  I’m not quite sure what they’re in love with.  Maybe it’s the mystique of the take-it-or-leave it Diaz brothers.  Maybe it’s Nate’s lanky frame at 155 pounds.  Perhaps they’re swayed by the Diaz’s trademark work rate on the feet, or ability to defend submissions and create offense on the ground.

Whatever it is, they’re better against the wrong UFC brother.

Miller is also part of a fighting family, and his brother Dan’s toddler son, Daniel Jr., is never far from focus with his need for a kidney transplant.  Jim Miller is fighting in front of his friends and family, about a half-hour from AMA Fight Club’s main location in North Jersey, looking to bring some focus to his nephew’s great need.

But it’s all secondary, since Miller’s skill set is a nightmare for Diaz.  Miller’s not going to be submitted, and proved that against Mark Bocek.  He’s not going to get knocked out, as he showed in falling to Benson Henderson.  Miller is not going to be intimidated by what appears to be a more physically gifted athlete, as evidenced by his finish of Melvin Guillard.

Diaz will be hard-pressed to sustain enough offense in a grinding fight during which Miller will nullify his weapons, and the New Jersey native will walk away with a unanimous decision in an up-tempo and action-filled five-round fight.


UFC on Fox 3: Nate Diaz breaks down his bout against Jim Miller

UFC lightweight fighter, Nate Diaz, is set to fight Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3 (Photo courtesy of speaks with Nate Diaz about his upcoming fight against Jim Miller May 5 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

Miller, Diaz on weight for UFC on FOX 3 clash

Nate Diaz (left) and Jim Miller square off Saturday in a pivotal lightweight contender bout. (Photo courtesy of


East Rutherford, N.J. - Lightweight contenders Jim Miller and Nate Diaz were both on weight Friday for their main event fight at UFC on FOX 3.

Both Diaz and Miller weighed in at an even 156 pounds for Saturday night’s clash, which headlines the UFC’s third network broadcast on FOX. Diaz, who had originally been promised a title shot with a win over Miller, looked lean and healthy for what will be his third fight at 155 since dropping back down from the welterweight division. Diaz is 3-3 in his last six fights, but has turned a corner with thoroughly impressive victories over Takanori Gomi and Donald Cerrone in his two most recent bouts. He earned Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night bonuses, respectively, in those wins.

Miller, a New Jersey native, is 10-2 in his UFC career and is coming off a first-round submission of Melvin Guillard in his previous fight. A loss to current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in August 2011 snapped a seven-fight winning streak that dated back to July 2009.

Ariel Helwani reported Friday that, in a last minute change-up, the winner of Saturday’s Miller-Diaz fight will now face Anthony Pettis to determine the No. 1 contender. With Henderson’s rematch with former champ Frankie Edgar likely to take place in September that would leave a nine-month wait for the next No. 1 contender, so another rung on the ladder has been added for the Miller-Diaz winner.

Co-headliners Josh Koscheck (170.5) and Johny Hendricks (170.5) were both on weight for their welterweight battle that is set to give Hendricks a title shot if he can emerge victorious. Hendricks initially weighed in at 171.5 before stepping behind the towel to shed the remaining clothing weight.

The only fighter not to make weight was flyweight John Lineker, who came in one pound over at 127 pounds for his fight against Louis Gaudinot. Fighters typically have two hours to lose the weight, but Lineker was denied the opportunity to cut any additional weight by the commission doctor. He was fined $1,200 for missing weight. That money now goes to Gaudinot.

The official UFC on FOX 3 weigh-in results include:

Main card: (FOX, 8PM ET/5PM PT)

Nate Diaz (156) vs. Jim Miller (156)

Josh Koscheck (170.5) vs. Johnny Hendricks (170.5)

Alan Belcher (186) vs. Rousimar Palhares (186)

Pat Barry (244) vs. Lavar Johnson (253)

Preliminary card: (Fuel TV, 5PM ET/2PM PT)

Tony Ferguson (154.5) vs. Michael Johnson (156)

John Dodson (126) vs. Tim Elliot (125)

John Hathaway (169) vs. Pascal Krauss (169)

Louis Gaudinot (126) vs. John Lineker (127)

Danny Castillo (155) vs. John Cholish (155.5)

Dennis Bermudez (145.5) vs. Pablo Garza (145)

Preliminary card: (Facebook, 4PM ET/1PM PT)

Roland Delorme (135) vs. Nick Denis (135)

Mike Massenzio (184) vs. Karlos Vemola (185)

*Lineker was fined $1,200 for missing weight and was denied the opportunity to cut any additional weight by the NJ commission doctor.

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