Photo by Dave Mandel, Sherdog.com.
New Jersey Native Set to Battle Beneil Dariush at UFC on FOX 15 in Newark on April 18th
One of the most historic runs in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will continue on Saturday, April 18th, with soul7nine athlete Jim Miller (24-5) entering the Octagon for the 19th overall time at UFC on FOX 15. On the other side of the cage will be rising prospect Beneil Dariush (10-1), as New Jersey native Miller welcomes him to his home state at Prudential Center in Newark.
“Training is going well,” Miller said of his fight preparation. “Having my own gym now allows me to control every aspect of my training, and I’m able to get in more of the work that I need. I feel like I’m making the proper corrections, and I’m feeling more dangerous.”
Alongside Dan Miller, his brother and fellow UFC fighter, Jim operates Miller Brothers MMA in Sparta, New Jersey, adding the title of business owner to his already impressive resume as a professional mixed martial artist.
“By having my own gym, I’m able to build my training around making my strengths stronger,” Miller remarked. “Something that I am a firm believer in is training to make yourself better and not so much training to deal with a certain opponent’s skill set. I know that if I fight my fight, and make my opponent fight my fight, I’m going to beat anybody. It doesn’t matter the weight class. If I make someone do the things that I’m good at doing, I’m going to beat him. Really being able to make every training session about that and working on my own strengths and weaknesses has been very beneficial for me.”
Originally scheduled to meet undefeated Irish striker Paul Felder on April 18th, Miller was just notified last week by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva that he would now be facing Dariush next weekend. However, Miller is a veteran of the game, so the drastic substitution is not something that caught him too significantly off guard.
“You go from a guy who is mainly a striker and orthodox to a southpaw with powerful punches and a Black Belt on the ground, but I just don’t let it phase me,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter who steps in front of me because I have a solid seven weeks of training at this point of making myself better and getting myself into better shape. We had done some things to deal with Felder’s type of game, but, like I said, I’ve gotten better and sharper at the things I do. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me. I’m still going to take the fight, and I’m still going to do what I’m supposed to do.”
Once he collects his 19th trip inside the Octagon on April 18th, Miller will find himself just one fight outside the top 15 for most bouts ever in the UFC. Being able to sustain the heavy demands of competing in such a physical sport at the highest level is not only proof of his durability, but it is also historical in context.
“Luck and the ability to take punches,” Miller laughed when asked what he credits for his longevity. “My first few fights in the UFC and before the UFC, I fought at a pretty break neck pace. Being in a fight camp and sustaining that high level of intensity, it definitely wears on you and breaks you down. I think what makes a fighter different from most athletes is the ability to be able to deal with discomfort and pain. There are other sports where people are phenomenal athletes, but they can’t handle a high level of discomfort. Even in terms of lactic acid, a lot of athletes start to crumble more quickly when lactic acid starts building up.
“The ability to deal with discomfort is something that I feel I have. I’ve been able to deal with nagging injuries and work around them, but a lot has to do with the approach in training. As things start to break down a little bit, you have to avoid certain movements, certain drills and certain types of training. I’ve always been confident that if I’m in shape, I can fight anybody. That’s why I take fights on a week’s notice. I know if I can go 15 minutes, I can beat anybody. It really just comes down to confidence, luck and resiliency. I enjoy fighting, and the little hang-ups that come with living this lifestyle don’t bother me.”
With the type of approach he takes in training, it is obvious that Miller has great perspective on what is needed to be successful for a long time in the sport of MMA. Nothing is better evidence to that than the fact his first 29 fights as a professional mixed martial artist occurred in just over eight years. That same perspective is on display when it comes to Miller’s post-fighting career, which he has already begun planning despite the fact that he is just 31-years-old.
“There is a lot going on right now, a lot of irons in the fire,” he said. “I have the fight coming up, I have a baby due, a gym I’m running and other projects in the works with soul7nine. It’s exciting. This is what I’ve been working for and what I’ve been fighting for. When you get into the sport, obviously everyone wants to become a champion and make a few bucks, but sometimes you have to deal with things beyond your control that happen outside of the cage. Sometimes those things you can’t control outside of the cage affect you inside of the cage. The truth of the matter is you can’t fight forever, and you have to parlay the fighting into something else.”
The same fighter mentality that Miller possesses almost certainly guarantees him continued success when he does decide to hang up his gloves.
“I’m just trying to put myself in a spot where I can use my career in fighting and success I’ve had inside the Octagon to reinvent myself and have a career after I’m done, something that I can do for years and not have to deal with the physical punishment of being a fighter,” he concluded. “It really comes down to putting yourself in a position to find those things and being active in establishing those relationships that will move you forward. I’m really excited to be working with Brian Cawley, Maureen McCulley and soul7nine. This is what I want and where I want to be, and I am excited for the future. You never know how much longer the fighting career is going to last. It’s one catastrophic injury away from ending. As a father and provider of my family, I have to prepare for that day, and it could be tomorrow. Therefore, I have a responsibility to put myself in a spot where I can still provide and keep my family comfortable after fighting is no longer a source of income.”
For all of the latest news and information from Jim Miller, follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Also make sure the visit the official website of Miller Brothers MMA.