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Sunday, December 7, 2008

JIM MILLER FIGHTING FROM THE TOWN , WHICH I LIVE AT SPARTA NJ


Jim Miller- This is Sparta By R Butler

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to compete against one another. We all know the names: Florian, Stevenson, Huerta, Fisher, Guida and the man high atop the smoldering volcano (literally) BJ Penn. Amid the fray lie sleeping giants who speak mostly with their Octagon prowess and not through the media. Jim Miller is a fighter adherent to this creed, and with a pivotal upcoming bout with “Handsome” Matt Wiman and a brother in the UFC practicing the same mantra, Miller is poised to upset the natural order of things.

“I fight because I love to fight,” said Miller. “I’m not here to be a superstar. If people like the way I fight and their fans of mine great. If somebody’s expecting me to talk crap and do stupid stuff just to get attention then they’re probably not going to be a fan of mine; I just want to have fun doing it.”

Jim Miller is a product of self-determination, leaving the hype to those who enjoy watching his brand of combative entertainment. As a smaller guy who loved playing sports like baseball, football and wrestling, Miller was looking for the sport that would cement the ferocity of his athleticism in his own mind. After dropping out of baseball, where he was an outfielder, and realizing he was too small for football after the midget league level, Miller continued to wrestle through high school and into Virginia Tech, finding some solace in it.

“By the time I got to high school I was still quite small, so playing football was kind of out of it because guys were 60-70 pounds bigger than me,” he said. “I was still 100 pounds, so I just stuck to wrestling and focused my efforts on that. I didn’t go there (Virginia Tech) to wrestle, and then after like a month or so I couldn’t stay away, so I ended up walking on pretty late and had some injuries and stuff like that and I ended up wrestling varsity for them. I did all right, beat some pretty tough guys, lost to some guys I should have beat, lost to some really good guys. It was late in the year my freshman year. I really just didn’t agree with the coaches and stuff so I only wrestled one year. The coach was kind of just an a**hole.”

It was after two years of school that Jim Miller was at a crossroads. With both Miller and his brother Dan working with their father, a pivotal decision was made that would soon reap the deeply personal reward each was seeking.

“The first time we ever saw a UFC, we were at wrestling camp over the summer and one of our coaches brought the tape of it and we watched it back in one of the rooms at night. It was the first time I ever saw mixed martial arts and always had it in my head, ‘oh I’m going to do that’ and all this stuff. I had gone to school for two years and then got out and I was working with my father and Dan, and we were just bored. All we had done was wrestle - we never did any other martial arts and then it was just like we need to do jiu-jitsu or something, we need to get into MMA. So one day we looked up a school and went down and started training.”

The Millers’ curiosity and focus once training began opened the doors to a combat lifestyle sooner than both the Millers and their trainer expected.

“We walked in with the plan to fight professionally. Of course when we got in there, our trainer at the time was like all right give me year and a half, give me two years of solid training and we’ll let you get into the ring. Two months later he had booked us a fight so we were fighting six months after we started training jiu-jitsu and really hadn’t done any striking training up to that point so then it was like, ‘oh crap we got to learn how to fight (laughs).’”

Miller went on to win his first five fights as a professional, capturing the featherweight title in the smaller feeder organization, Reality Fighting Championships. His next test was a unification bout against future fellow UFC lightweight and New Jersey native Frankie Edgar, who was Reality Fighting Championships’ lightweight Title holder. The result, Miller’s first loss, but a new training partner and friend emerged out of the melee.

“He was a tough kid and I knew he was tough,” said Miller. “I had some problems with my training leading up to the fight, but what are you going to do? Got into the ring and we had a tough fight. He definitely beat me every round; he won it. But now I get to train with him a couple of days a week - we do straight strength and conditioning with Martin Rooney and he’ll come up and train up by
us on Sundays and we try to get down and train at Ricardo (Almeida)’s once a week or just as often as we can. He’s a great kid, tough as hell, and he’s a great training partner.”

After the loss, Miller went on to build a seven fight win streak (with two wins over Edgar training partner Chris Liguori and WEC lightweight Bart Palaszewski) which he carried into the UFC, where he defeated French fighter David Baron this past October in Birmingham, UK. Now facing his toughest competitor yet in “Handsome” Matt Wiman after an injury forced Edgar out of this week’s fight, Miller is anxious about the possibilities this fight will bring.

“We’re both well rounded. This fight can go anywhere and neither of us is outmatched or completely screwed if the fight stays on its feet or if it goes to the ground. I think its just going to be a great fight because either one of us could take the other out.”

With Jim Miller and brother Dan aiding in the training, the two have nearly identical records of 1 loss after 12-13 fights total. The future is bright, and when the dust clears, the perceived sleeping giant will wake to fully realize the pre-determined destiny his town of birth Sparta, New Jersey suggests, that of world-recognized gladiator.

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