Jim Miller's ground game came in handy against Melvin Guillard. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Jim Miller might have walked out of UFC on FX 1 with a victory, but it did not come easily.
The New Jersey native found himself in trouble early in his headlining lightweight affair against Melvin Guillard, as “The Young Assassin” floored the AMA Fight Club talent with a hard left hand and looked for a potential finish as Miller tried to regain his senses.
“Melvin, tonight he hit me harder than anybody has hit me,” Miller told Fox Sports after the bout. “My head hurts a little bit. It doesn’t happen often that I get knocked down, but Melvin is an animal. I knew he was capable of that. Luckily, I went on autopilot. I don’t really remember what happened after he knocked me down until I basically had his back.”
In addition to his sharp punches, Guillard threatened early and often with a flying knee, missing the strike narrowly several times in the course of the bout’s opening minutes. Guillard’s last attempt at the move would be his last, however, as Miller caught the technique and planted Guillard on the canvas.
“I was thinking, I’ve got to stop him from doing this, because one of these times he’s going to hit me on the chin with that knee,” said Miller. “I had to do something to make him pay, but I just didn’t get the opportunity to get anything in there [before the takedown].”
As Guillard attempted to escape bottom position and regain his vertical base, Miller showed off his tight jiu-jitsu, taking the hunched Guillard’s back and riding the Imperial Athletics representative back to the canvas. From there, it was academic, as Miller found the required leverage to finish his foe with a rear-naked choke.
“I don’t know if it’s my favorite position, but [taking the back] is just something I do naturally,” said Miller. “It’s like Velcro. I stick to guys’ backs, and I get the finish from there a lot.”
With the win, Miller successfully rebounded from his August defeat to current No. 1 contender Ben Henderson, Miller’s first loss since falling to Gray Maynard in 2009. While the 28-year-old declined to call anyone out in his post-fight interview, Miller did indicate that he still has his eye on the belt currently sitting around the waist of Frankie Edgar.
“Hopefully I’ll get another tough fight and get back on that road to a title shot,” said Miller. “That’s what I want.”