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Friday, 12/20/2013, 11:39 am

Jim Miller: ‘I’d love to have 30 UFC fights under my belt’

Jim Miller is a gym rat. And for good reason. As one of the hardest-working men in the lightweight division – a suffocating grinder with a seemingly never-ending gas tank – he’s always made sure that his training routines are just as demanding as any fight he might find himself in. But now that Miller is on the elder-side of the big 3-0, he’s realizing that he needs to tailor his training to the man he is today, in order to achieve the greatest success possible. And that means lowering the intensity, and upping the technique. (interview and quotes courtesy of MMAjunkie Radio)

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I used to train like a 24-year-old and go in there and push hard and go basically as hard as you can go. But I’ve learned a lot of lessons and from the mistakes I’ve made in training. Now I focus on technique.”

Miller’s last fight was in April, when he was submitted by Pat Healy – a submission that was overturned to a no-contest, when Healy tested positive for marijuana. Since then, Miller has taken some time to heal his body and take care of some nagging injuries.

It did me some good to heal up,” Miller explained. “I’ve put a few miles on my body and was a little banged up for the last couple fights. So it was good to do some physical therapy and stuff like that. I don’t like spending time away and not be able to train and be in the gym and fight. But I used the time well, I guess.”

Next weekend, Miller will get to see how well that time off has served him, as he takes on Fabricio Camoes at UFC 168. But as far as Miller is concerned, he’s refreshed and ready to get back in the Octagon.

I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in more than a year, and I’m ready to mix it up.” Miller said.

Miller is currently ranked just outside of the lightweight top 10. An unfamiliar place for him, as just a few years ago he was riding a seven-fight winning streak, and looked to be well on his way to a championship belt. That was, until he ran into Benson Henderson.

“Smooth” was the first fighter to hand Miller a loss in over two years. And – after rebounding with a win over Melvin Guillard, he found himself in another valley, as Nate Diaz handed Miller not only his first submission loss, but his first stoppage loss of his career. To make matters worse, Diaz went on to fight for the title; a championship fight that could have belonged to Miller, had the victory been his.

Diaz would lose his bid for the title. And Miller? He was able to come back strong from the loss to Nate, putting on one of the most exciting lightweight battles in recent memory against Joe Lauzon, prior to his overturned submission-loss to Healy.

Could Miller have another run at the title in him? He believes so. And if he’s able to secure a victory at UFC 168, it will go a long way to prove to himself that he’s done with the rollercoaster – that he’s ready to climb out of the valleys and get back in the hunt for the strap.

I’ve done the work to put myself in the Top 10 in this division, and it’s going to take a bit to get me out of there,” he said. “I’m still here, and as long as my body cooperates, I’ll prove that I belong and prove I can beat these guys.”

Whether or not Miller ever sees a belt around his waist, he wants to compete in this sport for a long time to come. But he knows that not everyone is destined to be another Randy Couture.

The fights do wear on you,” he said. “I’ve got 15 fights in the UFC, and there aren’t a lot of guys who have more than 20. I’d love to be the exception and fight till I have 30 fights in the UFC, but there’s that realistic part of the brain that knows I have had a lot of tough fights and fought some really tough competition. It takes something out of you.”

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