Only a few minutes before Jim Miller was set to fight—in front of his hometown crowd, no less—the New Jersey native had to watch his brother Dan get beat.
Can you imagine anything more demoralizing? Seriously, if I had to watch my brother lose a war, I wouldn’t want to play a game of Wii tennis, let alone beat someone’s ass in front of 20,000 people.
And yet, that’s exactly what Jim Miller did. Right after watching brother Dan lose a hard fought decision to top-10 ranked Nate Marquardt, Jim Miller walked out to that very same cage, in front of those very same fans and he put on a show.
Admittedly, Jim Miller faced a much different challenge then his brother Dan had faced only minutes before. Against Nate Marquardt, Dan was coming in as a last-minute replacement for Yoshihio Akiyama. He was a longshot, a dark horse, an underdog, whatever. He wasn’t expected to defeat perennial contender Marquardt barring some sort of karmic-miracle (which happen in MMA about once every two weeks or so).
Against Kamal Shalorous, Miller was expected to win. He was expected to add another scalp to his already impressive resume. He was expected to add his seventh straight win to his UFC ledger and keep building his already impressive case for a shot at the UFC Lightheavyweight champion of the world.
I say all that because when I say that Jim Miller defied expectations, I want you to understand my full meaning.
Miller showed two aspects to his game that mark him as a serious world title challenger tonight.
The first was his wrestling. Miller matched—and at times, clearly outclassed—the Olympic level wrestler Shalorous. Seriously folks, sometimes it’s easy to just accept the good ol’ United States of America as the be all and end all of sports period, but the truth isn’t that simple. Iran (and the Middle East/Ukraine in general) is known for breeding killer wrestlers, world class guys who year it up on the world stage,
Kamal Shalorus is that caliber of wrestler. And Jim Miller, when he timed it right and committed to his shot, had no problem forcing him to the mat. That’s impressive. More importantly, that’s “I could take down Frankie Edgar/Grey Maynard impressive.”
Secondly, Miller showed KO power like few lightweights possess. When you weigh 155 lbs, getting a Mike Tyson-esque “one hitter-quitter” is not very easy. To be successful as a smaller man, you need KO power in combinations—the ability to shut an opponents lights off with a culmination of strikes.
Jim Miller put on the textbook demonstration of this in his destruction of Kamal Shalorous Saturday night.
Folks, Jim Miller is ready for a shot at the title. He’s ready for a match against the best 155 lbs. fighters in the world. If he doesn’t get a title shot, he should get someone ranked top-five. A Kenny Florian, a Melvin Guillard, a Clay Guida or the like.
It’s time for the Jersey boy to show what he can do against the very best in the world. He has more then earned it.
By Elton Hobson