Jim Miller Welcomed Bout with Ben Henderson, Waiting for Title Shot Not an Option
By Kelsey Mowatt
Much of the storyline surrounding Jim Miller’s UFC Live 5 bout with Ben Henderson this coming Sunday, has focused on the lightweight’s title shot aspirations, due to the fact that the 27 year-old vet is riding an impressive seven fight winning streak. Of course, debate as to when and if Miller will receive a title shot is nothing new, especially after the AMA Fight Club fighter stopped former WEC contender Kamal Shalorus in highlight reel fashion this past March. According to Miller, however, sitting on the sidelines to wait and see whether a rematch with champion Frankie Edgar or contender Gray Maynard would materialize, was never an option.
“I fight because I enjoy it,” said Miller (20-2), whose only professional losses to date came against the aforementioned Edgar and Maynard, who will fight for a third time, October 8th at UFC 136. “I never wanted to take time off. I only have a limited time for my career and a limited time to get in as many fights as I can. So I’d rather stay active. I feel like I can beat anybody in the world so why not fight guys and prove it?”
After Henderson scored a unanimous decision win over Mark Bocek in April, to rebound from his decision loss to Anthony Pettis last December, Miller predicted that he would soon cross paths with the former WEC champ.
“I knew it was coming,” Miller told FCF. “I figured out that it was happening when Frankie and Gray got hurt. I figured that with the win for him (at UFC 129) it was realistically the only fight they could book for me. All the other top guys were booked at that point, so it seemed like the next logical step.”
While Miller acknowledged that he wanted to stay active and test his skills against Henderson rather than sit on the sidelines, calls for a title shot will grow even louder provided he wins their August 14th bout.
“The UFC is still a sport; it’s still a competition and it’s trying to find out who’s the best fighter in a weight class,” Miller noted. “So I can only win so many in a row before it’s going to have to happen. Both Frankie and Gray are tough fights and I would like to avenge those losses…I’m just taking it in stride, staying active and worrying about the tough guys I’m fighting in the mean time.”
In Henderson (13-2) Miller will face an opponent, who besides his aforementioned loss to Pettis, has gone undefeated since March, 2007. During his time in the WEC, the highly regarded fighter scored wins over notable names like Jamie Varner, Shane Roller and Donald Cerrone (twice).
“He’s a tough, well rounded guy,” Miller said when asked to evaluate the abilities of Henderson. “Our games are pretty similar. I think he can definitely win some fights and he definitely has the highest profile win out of any of the WEC guys thus far. He’s good.”
In addition to being a former NAIA All-American wrestler, Henderson is an experienced martial artist who holds a brown belt in BJJ.
“I don’t think I’ve fought guys that are as well rounded as he is,” Miller noted. “I think in that way it’s an interesting fight for both of us. In my opinion I can edge him out in every aspect of the fight. I’m just looking to keep the pressure on him and capitalize on his mistakes.”
“I think he may try to keep it standing,” the BJJ black belt added. “Not really rush in with respect for my grappling. I’m just going to go in there and fight him, take everything in stride, and not really expect anything to happen. Just go in and fight, deal with what happens as it happens.”
UFC Live 5 will be hosted by Milwaukee’s Bradley Centre and will be broadcast live on the Versus Network.