Rivalries: Jim Miller

By Brian Knapp Oct 14, 2021

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People will remember Jim Miller long after he exits the mixed martial arts stage, even though he seems destined to go down as one of the most accomplished competitors never to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship title.

Miller will step into the Octagon for the record 38th time when he takes on Combate Global veteran Erick Gonzalez in a UFC Fight Night 195 showcase on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The 38-year-old New Jerseyan enters his latest test on the heels of back-to-back losses and in search of his first win in more than a year. Miller last competed at UFC on ABC 2, where he dropped a three-round unanimous decision to Joe Solecki on April. 10.

As Miller makes final preparations for his forthcoming clash with Gonzalez, a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape his career:

Gray Maynard

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semifinalist knocked Miller off the lightweight ladder, handed the New Jersey native his first loss in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and snapped his eight-fight winning streak with a unanimous decision in a featured UFC 96 attraction on March 7, 2009 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for the unbeaten Maynard. A three-time All-American wrestler at Michigan State University, he used his defensive skills to keep the fight standing and repeatedly slammed his sledgehammer of a right hand into Miller’s face. By the end of the first round, the AMA Fight Club product was cut above the left eye and bleeding heavily from the nose. Maynard worked his boxing throughout the bout, battering the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder with shots to the head and body. Miller enjoyed a brief glimmer of hope in the third round, where he threatened with a kneebar after being taken down. However, once Maynard escaped, the proverbial writing was on the wall.

Michael Chiesa

The Sikjitsu mainstay joined Nate Diaz as the only fighters to submit Miller, as he dispatched the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 80 co-headliner on Dec. 10, 2015 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Chiesa drew the curtain 2:57 into Round 2. A back-and-forth first round concluded with Miller scrambling to the back, threading a body triangle and fishing for a choke of his own. Chiesa remained calm under considerable duress and waited for the bell to sound his escape. He executed a takedown inside the first minute of Round 2, rolled out of heel hook and kneebar attempts from the Sparta, New Jersey, native and tenderized him with punches. Miller covered up and left his neck exposed, as “The Ultimate Fighter 15” winner scrambled to his back and cinched a palm-to-palm choke for the tapout.

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Takanori Gomi

Miller put an all-time feather in his cap when he disposed of the former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder with punches in the first round of their UFC 200 prelim on July 9, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Once regarded as the sport’s top lightweight, Gomi bowed out 2:18 into Round 1. The Japanese star wandered into danger inside the first minute and failed to find an avenue to safety. Miller drove him to the canvas behind a stinging straight left, quickly moved to the back and threatened with a kimura before shifting his focus to the rear-naked choke. The experienced and well-versed Gomi withstood those advances but rolled to his stomach in an effort to escape. Miller then flattened out “The Fireball Kid” and cut loose with unanswered punches for the finish.

Clay Guida

A no-nonsense approach that has always served Miller well did so again when he choked “The Carpenter” unconscious with a guillotine choke in the first round of their UFC on ESPN 5 co-main event on Aug. 3, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Guida blacked out 58 seconds into Round 1, the brief but eventful confrontation featuring two of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most prolific competitors. Their encounter was fun while it lasted. Guida cracked his fellow veteran with a sizzling right cross, only to be met with an equally stout left from the New Jersey native. Miller capitalized on a brief moment of weakness, as he clamped down on the dazed Team Alpha Male representative’s neck and squeezed until the job was done. It was the first sub-minute finish of the onetime CFFC champion’s career and made him just the fifth fighter in UFC history to record 20 victories inside the Octagon. Miller, Donald Cerrone, Demian Maia, Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping have since been joined in the 20-win club by Jon Jones, Dustin Poirier and Andrei Arlovski. Advertisement
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