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Jim Miller Interview: Don't hit the canvas with this guy

Most top shelf mixed martial arts fighters have the full repertoire of skills plus that one thing that sets them apart. In Chuck Liddell's case, the thing that sets him apart is his striking power. In Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's case, it's his submission skills. In Randy Couture's case, it's his patented ground and pound.

Thus, when attempting to find MMA stars of the future it would seem important to locate those guys that are well rounded with something that sets them apart. And when it comes to IFL lightweight Jim Miller, you'd have to be blind to miss what puts him above the crowd.

Let's put it this way: Don't hit the canvas with this guy and expect to keep all of your limbs intact. On the way to an 11-1 overall MMA record, Miller has submitted eight opponents and TKO'd another. And luck for us, he took the time to talk with's Robert Rousseau about his recent victory over Bart Palaszewski, a near fight with Marcus Aurelio, and more. I know it's awhile back now, but congratulations on your win over Bart Palaszewski.

Jim Miller: Thank you.
Did that fight go the way you thought it would?

Jim Miller:
Yeah, pretty much. I figured that I would be able to implement my game plan and put him on his back and positionally take control of the fight. It was a clear win for you. That said, how surprised are you that he somehow got through that fight without being submitted? I mean, it looked like you had him dead to rights twice, particularly with that rear naked choke in the third round.

Jim Miller: I was very impressed with his global wind. A lot of guys, their defense to the rear naked is to hold their hands up and get ready to tap (laughing). He was a real tough kid.
Speaking of submissions and stoppages, of your 11 wins you've failed to stop your adversary on only two occasions. How important is it to you to be known as an athlete that comes in to finish fights?

Jim Miller:
It's just the way I fight. I try to finish guys. That's what gives me the rush. I'm happy when I win a decision, but I don't get the adrenaline rush that I get when I finish somebody. You're the current Ring of Combat Lightweight Champion and just defended that title successfully against Chris Liguori in March. Then you ended up fighting Bart Palaszewski less than a month later. How do you manage to fight so often with so little rest and still be successful?

Jim Miller: The timing. . . I came off of that fight with Liguori (and) I hopped right back in and started training. Everything just fell into place. There was a rumor out there that you almost fought Marcus Aurelio, was that true?

Jim Miller: Yeah, there was some confusion of the contracts with the IFL. We thought we were out. (Then) I got a call from the UFC and it was like (I) can't turn that down. Everything happened at the same time. We thought we were out of the IFL; three days later the UFC calls; Davis gets hurt like the next day; (the) IFL wanted me to step in for the Palaszewski fight. . . So it was so many things just happening at the same exact time. It was very stressful, those couple of days. Right. On top of it, you just had a fight and then had another one soon after and managed to do very well. That's a credit to you.

Jim Miller: Thank you. During your MMA learning phase, if you will, you had a brother Dan with similar fighting interests. How much has that helped you in the MMA game?

Jim Miller: Dan has totally helped me in MMA. It's great to have somebody there everyday pushing me. He's one of the best 185 pounders in the area. Having someone there that's bigger and better is awesome. We've always gotten along; we never really fought. We're competitive with each other. . . So we push each other. You only have one MMA loss, that being to Frank Edgar. I know that he's in the UFC and you're in the IFL right now, but how much would you like to get a chance to avenge that loss?

Jim Miller:
I'd love to get a chance to avenge the loss. I'd just like to get the chance to fight Frank again. He's a tough guy. He's classy (and) the kind of guy you want to fight because even if you do lose he's not going to be one of those apples that starts running their mouth and stuff like that about the fight.

I learned a lot fighting him the last time. I've become a much better fighter. He's experienced losing too (now). Are there any possible fights for you in the works right now? Do you know who you'll be fighting next?

Jim Miller: I don't know who I might be fighting. . . I think I'm stepping in with the May 16th show, representing the Bomb Squad. It's still in the works right now. Is there anybody else?barring Frank Edgar? that you'd like to get a shot at fighting or that you've envisioned yourself fighting in the future?

Jim Miller: Any of the top guys, it doesn't matter who. Just the opportunity to get the chance to step into the ring with some of those guys would be awesome. How do you feel that you would match up?not necessarily whether you would win or lose?but how do you feel you would match up against IFL Lightweight Champion, Ryan Schultz right now?

Jim Miller: I think I match up pretty well with him. He's a good wrestler, but I've wrestled in Division I-A too. I've got submissions. I think I probably edge him out slightly with the hands. I think it would be a tough fight? traditionally he's a tough guy. But I think I could probably catch him. You said that you were a Division I-A wrestler. Where did you wrestle?

Jim Miller:
I wrestled a year for Virginia Tech. What's it like training with Renzo Gracie?

Jim Miller: It's really awesome having the experience of someone who's been training and fighting before I was born. It's a trip to me. I've gotten to train with him a couple of times. He's (also) been in my corner and the first time he was in my corner, he's telling me stuff that I'm already thinking of doing at the same time (laughing). He's never really had that in depth training with me where he knows my style, but he knows exactly what I'm about to go for. It's weird.
He also seems like such an upbeat guy.

Jim Miller: Yeah, definitely. He's always the center of attention just because he's a great guy, so laid back. Anything you'd like to say to the fans?

Jim Miller: Thanks for all the support. Keep an eye on me. I'm gonna keep fighting my ass off and see where it goes.

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