After Memorable UFC 155 Win, Jim Miller Hoping to Rematch Gray Maynard: “It Definitely Would Be a Different Fight Second Time Around”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Before Cain Velasquez reclaimed the heavyweight crown at UFC 155 in convincing fashion, Jim Miller was busy demonstrating why he remains one of the lightweight division’s top competitors, by working his way to an impressive decision win over the resilient Joe Lauzon. The victory returned Miller to the winning track, after a submission loss to Nate Diaz in May, and has likely ensured that the New Jersey fighter will face yet another top contender next.
It will be interesting to see who the UFC elects to match Miller up next, considering the 29 year-old’s extensive Octagon resume, and that other top contenders like Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone are scheduled to fight January 26th. Of course one intriguing possibility could be Gray Maynard. Not only did Miller step in to replace the injured Maynard versus Lauzon, but the former number one contender is one of just three men to defeat Miller in 14 Octagon appearances.
“He’s actually the one who’s on my mind,” Miller recently acknowledged on Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing whether he would be interested in facing the accomplished wrestler once again. “He’s right up there and I guarantee no one else is asking to fight him. I just don’t know how long he’s going to be out with his knee.”
Maynard (11-1), who was forced to withdraw from UFC 155 due to knee injury that required surgery, handed Miller (22-4) a unanimous decision defeat at UFC 96 in March, 2009. The 33 year old went on to work his way to the top of the division, but after battling Frankie Edgar to a draw last January, he was stopped by the former champ in the rematch.
“By the time we could get around to it, it will be over four years apart, so that’s a long time to learn new things and make it a different fight,” Miller noted. “We’re definitely going to meet again. Maybe that’s the next one, but, we’ll see. The Pettis, Cerrone fight has to get worked out and you have to see what they’re doing with the Strikeforce guys….I definitely want to get that one back though.”
As Miller noted, several years have gone by since the two battled at UFC 96, and both men have gone on to become dangerous contenders in the lightweight division.
“It definitely would be a different fight,” Miller noted. “We’re both professional fighters and you can add new things to your repertoire pretty quickly in this game. To think that the fight would look similar, or be similar, being that there are four years in between at least, I think is kind of disrespectful to us as fighters. It definitely would be a different fight second time around.”
Of course, Miller’s win over Lauzon was important due to his aforementioned loss to Diaz, but from a fan’s perspective, the memorable bout more than lived up to the hype that had accompanied it. Despite absorbing several pounding shots from Miller earlier on, a bloodied Lauzon continued to battle his way through two more rounds to help entrench “Fight of the Night” honors.
“I had the utmost respect for him leading into this fight,” Miller said while discussing the entertaining bout. “I’ve always been a fan of his and I knew he was tough.”
“Most guys will find a way out in a first round like that,” Miller furthered. “I had a good advantage on him. I had him hurt, cut him, which I don’t think would hurt per say, but it definitely messes with you confidence wise, and makes you look more desperate, because you know in the back of your mind ‘well I’m bleeding, so, I’m probably losing on the judge’s cards unfortunately.”
And naturally, collecting an additional $65,000 for his part in the “Fight of the Night” was also a great way to close out the holidays and 2012.
“Definitely,” Miller said. “It’s always nice making money you’re not supposed to.”