Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Jim Miller is currently riding a five-fight winning streak, yet for some reason or another his name is never mentioned amongst the world’s best lightweights. And if your name is not mentioned among the best in your division, then how can you expect a shot at a title?
This Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada Miller looks to earn a victory against the always dangerous and undefeated (14-0) Charles Oliveira. With another win, one would expect Miller to be considered for title contention. But for some reason that is not the case.
Miller has put together an impressive fighting record at (18-2), but if you look closely at his record you will see several aspects that may be holding “The Mongoose” back.
The first thing to jump out at you is that Jim Miller is desperately lacking some big victories over top tier competition. Eighteen victories are great on paper, but who exactly has Jim Miller beaten?
None of the fighters he has faced is even close to being ranked in or near the top ten. Gleison Tibau and Mark Bocek are quality fighters but are not setting the world on fire. Duane Ludwig has looked average at best, and former TUF winner Mac Danzig has never lived up to the expectations that come with winning the reality series.
His only two losses are to current UFC Lightweight Champion Frank Edgar and top contender Gray Maynard. Those two will battle it out for the UFC Lightweight title in January at UFC 125.
Let’s get down to the root of the problem facing Jim Miller and his quest for the UFC Lightweight title. The “Mongoose” is not a very exciting fighter. And like it or not, Miller must impress not only the fans but UFC President Dana White as well.
White has coined the phrase “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges,” meaning handle your business, fight your ass off and most importantly; finish fights. There lies the problem for Jim Miller, he is not known as a “finisher.”
Of Miller's seven wins in the UFC, five were by Decision and one was by Submission (Armbar) and the other by TKO (Doctor Stoppage). Now that is nothing to be ashamed of, but in a sport like MMA, fans want instant satisfaction and highlight-reel submissions and knockouts.
If Jim Miller can beat Charles Oliveira convincingly on Saturday night, then he will have earned a fight with one of the top ten lightweights in the division. The next obvious question would be who in the division could prove to be a crowd-pleasing matchup?
There are plenty of top lightweights that would be more than willing to welcome Miller to the fold. The one possibility of Miller stepping up in competition would be the constant challenge of pushing himself.
First, Miller must get through a very dangerous Charles Oliveira, a young and talented Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt who has wasted no time finishing both of his opponents since joining the UFC.
Styles make fights and both Miller and Oliveira have the submission skills to end the fight quickly and take home “Submission of the Night” honors.
Miller needs to win this fight and do it in spectacular fashion, whether it be by a submission or pounding Oliveira out. All that matters is that Miller finish and stay away from the dreaded judges' decision.
The bottom line is, if the fans are not happy, Dana White is not happy. This fight against Charles Oliveira is pivotal to the career of Jim Miller.
Not only must he prove to the world that he belongs in contention for the UFC Lightweight Championship, but he must also prove that he can finish fights and become the crowd-pleasing fighter who fills stadiums and can ultimately be marketable for the UFC.