Issue 203

April 2024

Embark on a journey through the illustrious UFC career of Jim Miller, as Kyle Dimond captures the essence of a true fighting legend in this captivating piece. 

On April 13, Jim Miller will make history as the only fighter to feature on UFC 100, UFC 200 and UFC 300. The fighter’s fighter and man of the people has had his record-breaking run in the promotion defined by his appearances at all three landmark events. 

From starting to make his name in 2009 to preparing for what he considered to be his last dance in 2016, the 40-year-old will mark 16 years of competing at the highest level when he steps foot inside the Octagon for what could be the final time. 

After submitting Gabriel Benítez in January to extend his record for most UFC wins up to a staggering 26, Jim Miller had one thing on his mind. Speaking to Michael Bisping in his post-fight interview, he ushered the words, “Well, uh, UFC 300’s coming up”. The colossal landmark event on April 13 features an unparalleled list of current and former world champions. Miller fits into this group as a record holder amongst fighters who will undoubtedly see his career highlights while making their way to the MMA leader. As the current owner of the most wins and fights in the promotion's history, he is cemented in the history books. 

UFC 300 wouldn’t be complete without Jim Miller. His unmatched longevity in the promotion speaks for itself, but he also has an incredible history of competing at the UFC’s big century mark shows. For him, the road to UFC 300 started many moons ago, all the way back in 2009, when he was coming off of his first loss in the UFC.


In his fourth fight in the UFC, the 25-year-old Jim Miller was preparing to compete at the promotion’s most significant event to date, UFC 100. Live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, he was set to take on Mac Danzig. Danzig had won season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter as a welterweight before dropping down to lightweight, where he needed to beat Miller to break a two-fight skid. 

Having started his UFC career with back-to-back bonus wins for submission and fight of the night, Miller suffered his first defeat in the promotion to Gray Maynard in March of that year. It was just the second loss of his 16-fight career, the first coming against Frankie Edgar in his 6th pro fight. UFC commentator at the time, Mike Goldberg, set the stage in his voice-over before the fight got underway.

“Owner of a work ethic that is second to none, Jim Miller has taken that blue-collar attitude and turned it into UFC victories over David Baron and Matt Wiman. Yet if the New Jersey native wants to keep moving up the lightweight ladder, he must add a third win to his Octagon record tonight.”

On the other hand, Danzig walked out with Maynard in his corner. In case you needed reminding of just how different a time 2009 was, Joe Rogan had to explain what Danzig having a vegan diet meant for the fans watching at home. Once they had stepped inside the cage, it was one-way traffic from when Miller secured his first takedown.

Though he wasn’t afraid to take a shot to land his own, it’s evident in this fight that the Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt was far more comfortable once the fight hit the floor. After getting Danzig to the mat, Miller landed the most significant strike of the contest around the midway point in the opening round. A ground-and-pound elbow opened up a substantial cut on Danzig’s forehead that immediately started to paint the canvas in claret. Despite the cutmen’s best attempts, all it took in the following rounds to reopen the wound was a couple of punches from Miller to give Danzig’s white shorts a fresh coat of paint. 

Rogan said on commentary that the longer the fight went, the more the cut would impact Danzig’s ability to turn the tide. “Well, it’s not just going to affect his vision, Mike, it’s going to affect his endurance,” Rogan explained. “It’s gonna affect his ability to fight because, you know, you get weak from that. The more blood you lose, the weaker you get. It’s like if you’ve ever donated blood, you don’t feel so good afterwards. That’s why they have cookies in the office.”

The New Jersey native dominated the bout from start to finish and, aside from a guillotine choke attempt in the second and a small flurry in the third, came through unscathed. He won via unanimous decision, telling Rogan in his post-fight interview that this was by far the bloodiest fight he had been involved in to date. Emphasis on the “to date.” Miller’s win over Danzig was just the start of a run he put together that would continue for several years. Winning seven in a row after losing to Maynard, he went on the best win streak of his UFC career and beat the likes of Duane Ludwig, Gleison Tibau, and the new submission phenom on the block, a 21-year-old Charles Oliveira. His winning streak ended against Benson Henderson in August of 2011. Henderson would defeat Frankie Edgar to win and defend the lightweight title three times.


Between his win over Mac Danzig and UFC 200, Jim Miller accumulated his experience as a veteran of the Octagon. With 18 fights between the two landmark events, Miller had racked up 11 wins, 6 losses, and 1 no-contest. UFC 200 would feature one other fight that also competed at 100 in the surprise return of Brock Lesnar. Miller told Fight Network ahead of the fight that while his appearance hadn’t changed much since 2009, his body and mind certainly had.

“I’ve definitely aged, the miles that this sport puts on you. There was a time, and UFC 100 was in it, where I was never out of the gym for more than a couple of days and training 300 days a year and fortunately not getting hurt and being lucky and training just smart enough or being just lucky enough to not get hurt. It’s taken a toll on me, it’s harder to train like I used to, so you know, it has affected me. Fortunately, I haven’t taken too much damage here, haven’t had my nose broken since, knock on wood, since when I fought Gray. I go out, and I fight as hard as I can, and sometimes it’s my night, and sometimes it’s not.”

With all of the chopping and changing that the card went through ahead of July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena, the road to the event wasn’t seamless for many people but Miller most of all.

After the fight, the 32-year-old fighter revealed that he initially targeted UFC 200 as his retirement date. Miller’s only UFC losses came to high-caliber opponents like Nate Diaz, “Cowboy” Cerrone, and Beneil Dariush, but ahead of the event, he had won just one of his last five. Throughout this run, Miller’s training and health were becoming increasingly affected by a severe bacterial infection that he believed was simply the wear and tear on his body that came with competing in MMA. 

In 2015, Miller started to heavily feel the effects of what would later be diagnosed as Lyme disease. Once he was in the clear of the disease, Miller shed light on what he was going through back then during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience. He would get severe joint pain and numbness that could range from struggling through training sessions to even having difficulty getting up the stairs or climbing out of bed. “Brain fog” would have him entering rooms and then immediately forgetting why he was in there, saying the completely wrong word mid-sentence, and even eye twitches that could last days. 

After describing his symptoms to his doctor during the medical for his fight with Diego Sanchez at UFC 196, Miller was told that the answer could be Lyme disease. Unfortunately, he tested negative for it and still does to this day. Miller told the UFC commentator that 50% of the people who have it don’t test positive for it, but once identified, it is treatable with a long course of antibiotics. Miller believed that after struggling through his training camps, he would call to fight at UFC 200 to end his career in front of the fans. With no answer for his struggles, his health seemingly wouldn’t improve by continuing to be a fighter. 

Miller made it through UFC 196, and despite having 200 already planned as his last dance, he came into July 9th as a revitalized fighter, which showed in his performance. He was tasked with opening up the card against a fighter he admired a lot when getting into the sport. Takanori Gomi is a Japanese legend from his days in Pride, making this one feel a bit extra special for Miller. In his pre-fight interview with Fight Network, he said this about getting Gomi as an opponent.

“It’s a cool fight, I was watching him be the best in the world at 155 pounds or 160 pounds before I even started training, so he’s a guy that I’ve seen fight a lot and have a lot of respect for, and I’m a big fan of his. It’s an honor to get to go in there Saturday night and mix it up with him.”

Once the fight started, there was minimal opportunity for Gomi to use his unorthodox striking. From the moment a kick of his was caught by Miller, he was in trouble and found his back being taken early on in the fight. After not getting the submission, the American could flatten his opponent out and let go of his strikes to force the referee to step in. Having come so close to calling it a day, it was clear that Miller still had much more to give in this sport. Another eight years would have seemed far-fetched at that point, but a delayed retirement certainly wasn’t.

Miller spent the majority of his post-fight press conference explaining his diagnosis of Lyme disease and what exactly that has meant for his career in recent times. He addressed this immediately in the media scrum that followed his bounce-back win.

“It feels really good, I’ve had a rough go of it lately,” Miller revealed as he peeled back the curtain. “I had a couple fights there where I didn’t feel like I was prepared going into it. My last fight, that was the first time I ever fought, and didn’t want to be there because I had such a rough camp. So I asked to fight on 200 so that I could hang them up in front of the fans ‘cus I believe that the fans have deserved that, and when I decide to, I will do it in front of the fans. I got the call for Gomi, thought this is a great fight, and we figured out what was wrong. Ended up I have Lyme disease, so you think of everything that you would get being a professional fighter for ten years, basically the symptoms of Lyme disease.”  

I really needed this because I was feeling like crap after that last one.”

Before he fought Diego Sanchez, the idea of even making it through another grueling training camp would’ve been difficult for Jim Miller. The doctor who told him ahead of UFC 296 that he may have Lyme Disease and that after a few days of antibiotics, he should start to feel much better didn’t just extend his career; he breathed new life into it. Miller was already close to being a record holder in the promotion at this stage, but what was planned to be the end turned out to be a new beginning. Twenty UFC fights later, he is still here, doing what he does best and showing the young and hungry contenders in the lightweight division what it takes to achieve a long career in the UFC.


It had been over six months since the last time we had seen Jim Miller step inside the Octagon by the time this past January arrived. Fortunately, he got out at the first opportunity in 2024, and everyone knew what was hanging in the balance. UFC 300 on April 13 had his name written all over it, but would it still be possible if he suffered a defeat to Gabriel Benítez on January 13? To cut a long story short, he didn’t. It was another veteran performance from the man with the most wins and fights in UFC history. In his post-fight interview, he made his intentions clear.

“I got three months to heal up and stay in shape and stay ready so it’s just kind of finding an opponent at this point. There’s a couple of names that have been thrown out that have intrigued me a bit. One of them’s sitting at the desk, Paul Felder. I think that’d be a fun fight. I got the most finishes at lightweight, Matt Brown. I would love to go up to 170 and fight the guy with the most knockouts in UFC history. One of the guys that’s at the top of the welterweight division. And then you know the name got thrown out there, I mean, like if the purse is big enough, Brock Lesnar, I want you at 300!” 

Miller would end up being booked against neither the fighter turned commentator, “The Immortal” or the former UFC heavyweight champion. Instead, he would get a ranked opponent at 155 pounds and fellow fight veteran Bobby “King” Green. Miller and Green have been matched up on three previous occasions but never met inside the cage. The last time they were supposed to face off, Green was replaced by “Cowboy” Cerrone in a fight that saw Miller break the record for the most wins. In his post-fight interview with TNT Sports at UFC 276, Miller spoke about the prospect of being booked against Green again.

“Not really at this point, that’s three times. Over the years, there was one in 2014 that he broke his foot or his ankle, but I feel like the last two have kind of been on him. Dana said they would move on past the Cowboy and Lauzon fight, so let’s move on from that one, too.”

This fight was significant not just because he broke the record for most wins. After suffering a defeat, Cerrone announced his retirement in the cage. As Joe Rogan approached Miller, he told the long-time UFC commentator to interview Cerrone first, knowing he had something to say. When asked in 2022 why he decided to do this, Miller said he was paying it forward in the hope that the same ceremony would be afforded to him on one specific date.

“At UFC 300, because that’s my finish line, if I can make it that far, I’d like my moment too.”

As the final bell echoes through the arena, marking the end of an era, Jim Miller's journey—a saga that began in the smaller shows before ascending to the very pinnacle of mixed martial arts—culminates under the bright lights of UFC 300. From the gritty battles of his early days to the record-setting triumphs that followed, his legacy is not just in the victories or the defeats but in the spirit and resilience he displayed in every fight. As he stands in the center of the Octagon, the crowd roaring with appreciation, it's clear: while the gloves may be hung up, the legacy of Jim Miller, a true warrior of the sport, will forever echo in the halls of UFC history.