For all the talk about “older” athletes needing more recovery time, UFC lightweight Jim Miller is the clear exception.
Miller (32-14, 1NC), the promotion’s Iron Man, will be entering his 36th fight in the octagon at UFC 252 this Saturday. He just happens to be 36 years old heading into that bout. It’s his third fight of the year, second during the coronavirus pandemic, and as he told Cageside Press at this week’s media day, “If I could get four, five fights a year I would do that consistently.”
No wonder he’s hit three dozen fights for the company.
“It’s one of those things, there was a period of time in my career that I needed a little bit of time off between fights,” Miller admitted. “But now, there’s so many things that can pull me away from the gym that it’s easier for me to just stay in it, and have that fight in the future, and keep going.”
“Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to not really be dealing with any bad injuries,” Miller added. Just the usual bumps and bruises that one endures over the course of a career in MMA. And a shoulder injury suffered in his 2018 fight with Charles Oliveira that is now in the past.
When it comes to his fighting pace, “it’s that double-edged sword,” Miller later observed. “It might catch up to me a little sooner, but the hardest part for me now is if I fall out of shape.”
Family, business, and hobbies can be distractions, he added, saying that training “easier and safer is hard for me.”
In any case, we’re far from seeing Jim Miller’s final fight, he promised. “I’m pretty focused on hitting 40 [fights in the UFC] right now. That’s another year and a half,” he noted. “And UFC 300’s sneaking up on us. I’d be in my 40s at that point, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m feeling really good right now.”
When it comes to UFC 252 opponent Vinc Pichel, “he doesn’t get tired. He just keeps going forward,” Miller opined. That might be cause for concern for those who have been watching Miller over the years. Something he recognizes as well.
“Being 100% honest, unfortunately my conditioning has been one of those things that has suffered in the last couple years. It’s something I’ve been working on and trying to address,” said Miller, who added “there’s no excuse for it.”
We’ll see how that factors in come Saturday. Jim Miller meets Vinc Pichel in the featured preliminary fight at UFC 252. It’s once again at the UFC Apex, minus fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It sucks fighting without the fans, but I’ve always said I’d fight anybody, anywhere,” said Miller. And he’ll prove that again Saturday.
Watch the full UFC 252 media day press scrum with Jim Miller above.