August 5, 2019

UFC on ESPN 5: Jim Miller Is The Role Model MMA Needs

By Raphael Garcia

There are a lot of negative stories that can be found in the world of mixed martial arts, but there are also positive stories that do not receive the same level of coverage because those stories don’t generate the valuable clicks or drive the website traffic. One of those stories is Jim Miller picking up professional victory number 31 at UFC on ESPN 5 with a first-round submission win over Clay Guida. That win gave Miller the most wins in UFC lightweight history with 19. Over the course of his professional career, Miller has stood out as a role model within the sport, someone who represents many of the things that are good about MMA.

The Sparta, New Jersey native now holds the record for the most UFC fights, sitting atop the list with 33 in total. That run spans over a decade, as he made his debut for the company back at UFC 89 in 2008. He has faced a who’s who across the lightweight and featherweight divisions, battling some of the best that this sport has ever had to offer, such as Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Takanori Gomi, Charles Oliveira, and Frankie Edgar. Even though Miller was never able to get the bigger victories that would garner him a title shot, fans, media, and colleagues alike knew that he was going to bring an exciting style to every contest, which made many of his fights “must see.” He discussed that approach after his victory over XXX at UFC on ESPN+ 8, in a postfight interview with MMA Junkie:

“My game was always to be the pressure fighter. To keep going after guys. I get in there and I just ‘ahhhhh, punch him.’ I know that I can compete with the best in the world.”


At 35 years of age, Miller’s best days may be behind him, but he’s now the wily veteran that can still put on a show. Think of Vince Carter in the NBA or Brian Dawkins before he retired from the NFL -- both men continued to find ways to compete long after experts considered them past their primes. Miller is cut from the same cloth. With three wins in his last four, he still has the ability to test anyone standing in front of him, even if no one is calling for him to be slotted against ranked contenders. But that hasn't stopped him from thinking about when he finally does hang the gloves up:

“I want to go out on my own terms...I want to know going in there. I think that’s going to be a great night for me. Having that lifted off my shoulders. It takes a lot to grind through a camp. I’m trying to find that next thing and maybe not having fighting as the way to provide for my family – I would like to transition.”

When that transition comes, Miller deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments. He never fought for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and never had that belt strapped around his waist, but he still achieved what many will never taste in this sport. Miller has competed on 33 different UFC cards, doing so while not only battling his opponents, but also battling Lyme disease, which he finally overcame in 2016.


Miller's story carries the weight of just how hard he’s worked both inside and outside of the Octagon -- all while staying away from the "dirt sheet" headlines that often plague the sport. And now, as the end approaches, Miller is more open to talking about the end of his career and what happens when that day comes.

“Let’s see where the road goes. I’m as interested as you are.”

When the end does come, and Jim Miller is no longer competing in mixed martial arts, hardcore fans will recognize him as a competitor worthy of praise. Miller leaves everything in the cage each time he steps into it, while outside of it showing us what it means to be a role model for those coming up in the trenches. His win at UFC on ESPN 5 added another chapter to his story, one that even as it winds down, he's not ready to close the book on just yet.

UFC on ESPN 5
Clay Guida vs. Jim Miller: Jim Miller defeats Clay Guida via technical submission (guillotine choke) at 0:58 of Round 1.

UFC on ESPN 5: Covington vs. Lawler took place August 3, 2019 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN 5 Post-Fight Analysis


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