UFC Vegas 40: Jim Miller on COVID-19 Forcing Him Out of Fight for First Time Ever

Jim Miller is the UFC’s “Iron Man,” a fighter who holds the record for most fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship history at 38 (as of this weekend, anyway). And who had never pulled out of a fight until last month, when a COVID-19 diagnosis wiped out his fight with Nikolas Motta at the last minute.

Miller’s resume is something to behold; while other fighters generally have a host of cancellations and opponent switches, he barely has an at all. Occasionally, opponents have pulled out. Once, an entire event was cancelled. But in a career that kicked off in 2005, Miller had never dropped out until the Motta fight.

“I literally felt like I had allergies the day I was tested.” Miller said of the experience. “It was a little crummy for a couple days, nothing too crazy. I took about a week and a half, then hopped back in, and got right back into training camp.”

It’s well-known now that Miller suffers from Lyme disease, a diagnosis that eluded him for years. With that history of health issues, COVID-19 was something of a concern, even for an athlete in top shape.

“There’s so much sh*t out there, that you don’t know. You don’t know what it’s going to be like,” he explained. “I was concerned for my wife, I was concerned for my kids, but fortunately everybody dealt with it pretty easily. We beat its ass.”

The good news is, with COVID’s ass kicked, Miller returns this weekend at UFC Vegas 40. He’ll take on promotional newcomer Erick Gonzalez. The change in opponent from Motta to “Ghost Pepper” didn’t give Miller any pause.

“I know that Sean [Shelby, UFC matchmaker] has to ask me about an opponent change,” stated Miller. “But it’s kind of at a point where he doesn’t. ‘Oh you’re fighting this guy on that day.’ Okay. I see the e-mail or I see the text and we’re good to go.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 40 media day appearance from Jim Miller above. The event takes place this Saturday, October 16, 2021 at the Apex in Las Vegas.