Exclusive | Jim Miller on Diaz; "I'm going to get after him and fight him"
By Sean McClure:
Jim Miller (10-2 UFC) is set to face one of the toughest guys in the lightweight division on one of the biggest cards the UFC has ever put together. Miller faces Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on FOX, which airs on May 5th. Leading up to the fight, Jim’s camp has been very supportive, and kept him focused and grounded.
Despite the high profile nature of this fight Miller hasn’t really made and significant changes to his training camp.
“We know this fight is important. Every fight is important. For this one, we keep drilling alot. We’re really getting back to the basics and getting the reps in”, Miller said.
Jim has been in the UFC spotlight before. He has fought both on pay-per-view and on television. He does admit that the fight on FOX has been a little different than what he is used to.
“There’s been more media. This fight is going to be on network TV so the press is focusing on it a little bit more I think”, Miller stated. “There are more eyes on us because the event is going to be free and on FOX. It’s a big fight for both Nate and I. But, there really hasn’t been anything major that might affect my camp or my focus”.
Not much has been heard from the Diaz camp leading up this fight and Jim is just fine with that.
“I think Diaz respects me and I have a lot of respect for him. We come from similar camps. He’s under one of the Gracies, and I’m under a guy who got his black belt from Renzo. We both know each other have what it takes to get the job done. We’ve had conversations before we were scheduled to fight. I like watching him fight to be honest. There’s a mutual respect there that we both deserve”, said Jim.
Miller was ill when he fought and lost a decision to UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson in August of last year. He bounced back in January of this year with a first round submission of UFC veteran Melvin Guillard. Jim has made a point to pay close attention to how he feels before stepping inside the cage.
I feel great. I’ve had a great camp”, Said Miller. “I try to learn from my mistakes. If I felt the way I felt going in to that Henderson fight I would definitely know something was off now. That really adds to your confidence when you are for sure one hundred percent. I definitely noticed a difference going in to the Melvin Guillard fight. I felt great beforehand and great walking in to the Octagon. I was energetic you know for that one. There’s definitely a different feeling to it”.
With that confidence Jim feels he is better prepared to handle what Diaz brings to the table.
“You know I want to fight my fight. I press the pace and I attack. That’s the way I fight and I think a fight should be fought. I’m going to get after him and fight him. A lot of guys don’t do that. I plan on using my wrestling that’s definitely one of my strengths. It wouldn’t be a shock to him if I did that. I’m also more dangerous than I have ever been on my feet and on the mat. I’m looking to finish this fight”, said Miller.
In some ways Jim feels he and Diaz possess some of the same strengths. There are some obvious differences and Jim is aware of the areas he needs to be stronger in for this fight.
“We are similar fighters if you compare how we fight in terms of aggressiveness”, stated Miller. “We do have some big differences in our core skills. The biggest difference is I grew up wrestling. I’m a wrestler and he’s not. I don’t think that’s a secret to anyone. His range is something that he has and uses very well with guys. Another thing is that we both keep coming towards the end of the fight even if we’re tired”.
Both fighters are ranked in almost every lightweight division top 10 on the planet. Whether or not this fight has championship implications he really isn’t sure.
“I would like to think that, but I haven’t been worrying about. I am focused on this fight with Nate and winning on the 5th”.
When asked about how he and Nate stack up with the current and former lightweight champions Jim wasn’t entirely sure on that point either.
“I don’t know. Both Frankie and Ben are tough as hell for both Nate and I”, Miller said.
Jim is one of those fighters that says to the UFC when he is offered a fight. He doesn’t wait for or expect phone calls from the UFC brass.
“I rarely talk to Dana until I get the names and then go try to beat them up”, Miller joked.
Before he entered the Octagon for the first time he struggled with training times, and getting in the proper shape before a fight.
“My preparations have changed quite a bit”, Jim said. “I hadn’t been training full time until I got my first UFC fight. I’ve just been doing this truly as a professional since I signed with the UFC. Earlier in my career I got away with just coming in to my gym and training when I could. Kind of taking advantage of myself, and not training in the best way or taking advantage of the resources I had. That’s definitely changed. I’ve taken a much more professional approach to the way I train. I’ve found guys that have been training me and teaching me. I’ve been doing a lot of techniques and training like a white belt basically. In every aspect. I feel great”.
This fight has special meaning to him. When he steps out from behind the curtain to walk to the Octagon it will be in front of his hometown crowd. Miller couldn’t be happier.
“It’s awesome. I mean the whole thing is awesome. It’s nice to fight in Jersey and not have to travel. It’ll be really cool when I walk out in front of my fans on such a big card on FOX. It’s going to one hell of a night and I am just excited for the whole thing”.
Jim Miller faces Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on FOX 3. The event is scheduled to take place May 5, 2012.