UFC Atlantic City: Jim Miller Talks Milestones and Staying Motivated

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UFC Atlantic City’s Jim Miller is once again tying the record for most UFC fights at twenty-nine. So at this point in his career, what keeps him motivated?

Atlantic City, NJ — Jim Miller is back in action this weekend at UFC Atlantic City. He’s also back to setting records, once again tying the record for most UFC fights, at twenty-nine with Michael Bisping. Given Bisping is flirting with retirement, there’s a good chance Miller will soon overtake him. Yet at 34, Miller has plenty of fight left in him, though he’s not afraid to reminisce about the past.

One of the longstanding staples of the lightweight division, Miller discussed his career as an up-and-comer, missing weight for a wrestling match with Frankie Edgar, and a lot more at the UFC Atlantic City media day ahead of this weekend’s event. Cageside Press had the opportunity to ask Miller, milestones in mind, about what keeps him motivated at this point of his career. We also asked, with Miller having gone 0-3 in his last three fights, whether he was feeling any extra pressure.

“There’s always that little bit of pressure coming off a loss,” Miller answered. “This is the first time I’ve had three in a row, and it’s something I never planned on. There’s always pressure to get back to it.” For Miller, those criticizing fighters off just their most recent performances are selling them short. “I can’t stand the phrase ‘you’re only as good as your last win,’ because that’s bulls***,” he continued. “You can put together a career, and it’s one night, one moment in time. A fifteen minute stretch, or even a twenty-five minute stretch of a fight is nothing, it’s nothing compared to what you could have done in the past in here.”

“I’m not a big fan of that phrase being thrown around,” Miller added. “I think it kind of devalues us as fighters, as martial artists as well and what we’ve put into it to get to this point. I’ve been training in MMA for almost thirteen years now, and was wrestling since I could walk. There’s been a lot of time spent on the mats to develop that, and to kind of sell myself short and say ‘well I performed like s*** my last fight, so I must be a shit fighter,’ I think that’s bogus.” Regardless, however, Miller admitted that “there is a little bit extra [pressure].”

Not that it’s going to change anything for him when he enters the octagon on Saturday. When he steps in the cage against Dan Hooker, he said simply that “I’m going to put it on the line, I’m going to fight as hard as I can. If I see an opportunity to finish him, and it’s reckless, I’m still going to go for it, because it’s me,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m not going to fight that. I’m not going to change who I am, I’m not going to fight conservative, because win or lose, I want to be able to satisfy myself with that performance.”

“There is the pressure, but I’m also Jim Miller, and I’m going to do what I’m going to do,” he finished. “I’m not going to let that pressure get to me.”

So what does keep Jim Miller motivated twenty-nine fights into his UFC career? To put it simply, “a huge love of the competition.”

“I get super excited,” Miller stated. “A couple weeks out of a fight, I’m just ready to go.”

It’s been too long on the sidelines this time out. “This is about six months in between these fights, and I hate that,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of taking this much time off. Unfortunately this wasn’t my choice, I kind of got pushed back until [the UFC] were coming to the area here.” Which kept him from his passion, fueled by “the joy, the love of training, the love of fighting, and competing.” And as Miller pointed out, “at the same time, it’s also a job. It’s how I provide for my family. I gotta do that as well. Sometimes that has been the motivation, when I have been banged up, when I have been hurt. You decided to make your living as a fighter, you’ve gotta fight. Sometimes even when you’re banged up.”

Fight is exactly what Miller will be doing this Saturday, April 21 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The UFC Fight Night 128 card airs live and free on Fox Sports 1. Check out the full scrum with Miller, part one above, part two below.

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