Jim Miller Targets UFC 300 Fight, Drops Retirement Plans

Veteran UFC lightweight Jim Miller has accepted a fight on January 13, despite his long-standing plan to compete at UFC 300 in April, citing his age and the importance of staying active as reasons for not waiting for the historic event.

Jim Miller didn’t hesitate when the UFC offered him a fight on their Jan. 13 card. Even though he’d been planning for years to compete at the monumental UFC 300 event, just three months later on April 13, he didn’t let that stop him.

Miller, a seasoned lightweight, has already made his mark in UFC history with the most fights and wins. He couldn’t imagine turning down a fight just to be the only fighter to participate in all three anniversary cards.

“I never wanted to sit and wait,” Miller confessed to MMA Fighting. “April 13, it would be 10 and a half months between my fight in June and then to UFC 300. That’s too long of a layoff, especially at this age. I just turned 40. Time matters.”

Miller knows that with each passing day, the end of his career inches closer. He’d rather be active, training, preparing for fights, and fighting. He even asked to fight before the end of the year. “I wanted to fight November, maybe early December, but that ended up not happening so here we are into 2024 and I’ve got Gabriel Benitez.”

When Miller first announced his plans to appear at UFC 300, it felt like the end. He’d always said he wanted to compete long enough to cap off his career at this historic event. But things have changed. Miller now expects to fight well past UFC 300, although he still plans to fight at that card.

“Listen, at this point, 300 it’s important,” Miller said. “I’ve been talking about it for a few years. When I originally brought it up, this was probably four years ago, I wasn’t certain where I would be today. I feel like I’m in a better place than I anticipated I would be. I was bringing it up to be like, ‘Hey, I was almost going to retire at [UFC] 200 so might as well retire at 300,’ but that’s not the plans anymore. I’m not planning on hanging them up just yet.”

Miller’s change in mindset comes down to his health and recent performances. He’s had an impressive 4-1 record over his past five fights, with all wins coming by knockout or submission.

When he first considered retirement, Miller had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease. The condition can cause constant pain, swelling, and numbness. At that point, Miller thought it might be time to call it a career.

Now, a few years post-recovery, Miller feels better than ever. He’s not even thinking about the end of his career, although he knows the unpredictable nature of the fight game could change that at any moment.

“That is not the plan [to retire at UFC 300], but I am comfortable talking about it because I was so close,” Miller explained. “I was preparing for UFC 196 just in agony and barely able to train, and I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore, might as well get to [UFC] 200, fight on both, that’d be great, retire then.’ I was diagnosed with Lyme disease three days prior to [UFC] 196, I was able to get through that. I’ve already looked retirement in the eye. I’ve already decided to do it so it’s easy for me to talk about it. I know that not many of my peers are willing to talk about it. Not many other professional athletes are willing to talk about it, but since I was so close to it happening, and fortunately what was driving me to make that decision was something that was out of my control but also fixable.

“I got a handle on Lyme and I know things could happen at any moment. I hurt myself a little over a year ago bending over in the kitchen to pick up a wrapper that one of my kids had dropped and I put a decent tear in my patella tendon. This could happen at any time. I could have a devastating injury at any time, one that leads me to a year, 18 months of recovery and I don’t know if I have that in me at 40. I’m playing it by ear, but where I sit, right here today, UFC 300 is not my last fight.”

Miller no longer plans on setting a timetable for his career, but he knows that day will come sooner or later. Unlike some of his contemporaries like Joe Lauzon, who has said he will eventually stop fighting but probably never declare his retirement, Miller definitely plans on announcing his intention to call it a career.

In fact, Miller actually looks forward to the chance to go out in one final blaze of glory.

“I get excited about knowing that a fight will be my last one,” Miller said. “That there is nothing after that. There’s nothing left to hold back for. I’m going to have to define it and it might just be from fighting in the UFC or MMA. I’ll obviously still be training and maybe I’ll take up some of the offers I get to compete in jiu-jitsu and stuff like that and who knows, there’s a lot of guys making money in boxing. Who knows. But I will define it. I will have that last fight.

“I want to know going into it. Obviously, things can happen and if something happens in a fight and I feel like we’re not coming back from this any time soon and we might have to do it right there but I’m not the type that makes emotional decisions. I want to know ahead of time. I’d like everybody to know ahead of time and just go out and have fun and put on a show and hopefully go out on what will be remembered a quintessential Jim Miller fight.”

As far as UFC 300 goes, Miller was promised a slot at the same time he was offered the fight with Benitez at UFC Vegas 84, but he’s not thinking any further past Jan. 13.

For now, anyways.

“I haven’t even entertained any of the, ‘Who do you want to fight [at UFC 300]?’ Any of that,” Miller said. “It’s on the radar, it’s blipping, but it’s off the screen. I’m preparing for the 13th. I’m preparing for Benitez. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to fight my fight. Because I have a set of standards that I have for myself and I’m going to make it a Jim Miller fight. I want to come out from the fight excited with my performance so I’m going to go out there and try to be as violent as possible and make it a tough fight. Make it one of my fights.

“It’s cool to hear people talk about it, hear Dana [White] mention it. When Sean Shelby called me up to offer me this fight, he said, ‘It will be a couple of months and then you’ll get 300,’ so hearing him say that a couple of months ago was great. I have a fight in a week and a half and that’s the only thing that’s been on my mind.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -