Jim Miller Hopes Guillard Win Has Him Back Atop UFC Lightweight Ladder

Jim Miller (Matt Erickson/HeavyMMA)

Miller has won eight of last nine

Jim Miller‘s seven-fight winning streak heading into his bout with Ben Henderson last summer had people talking title shot – if he got past Henderson.

He didn’t, and he got pushed back into a crowded pack in the UFC’s lightweight division. But with a submission win over Melvin Guillard on Friday at UFC on FX in Nashville, Tenn., Miller may have put himself right back at the top of the contenders heap.

“Melvin is going to be a perennial contender in this division,” Miller said after the fight. “It’s good to have a win over him. I’m proud of myself for getting knocked down and still doing what I had to do to get the victory in there. Hopefully those wins I had before my August fight don’t go away.”

In other words, Miller sure hopes he’s looked at as “Jim Miller, who has won eight of his last nine fights,” and not “Jim Miller, who has gone 1-1 his last two.” Guillard had a five-fight winning streak before being derailed by Joe Lauzon in October, so the two were in similar positions on Friday looking to get things turned around.

It was Guillard who looked good early, rocking Miller and keeping him off guard thanks to three flying knees. But on the fourth, Miller shot, got the takedown, and from there it was a systematic road to a rear naked choke victory.

“I kind of went into work mode and doing what I’m comfortable doing at that point,” Miller said. “Those punches, you don’t feel. The one that he dropped me with, I didn’t feel and I don’t know how I took his back – but I knew I was going to squeeze as hard as I could.”

Guillard served up plenty of compliments for his opponent after the fight, going as far as saying aside from lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, Miller is the clear No. 2 in the division – with Guillard right behind him.

“At the end of the day, and Frankie’s not in this category because he’s the champ, me and Jim Miller are the best two guys in this division,” said Guillard, who has nine of his 10 career losses by submission. “Guys don’t want to fight us. People are not lining up to fight me or Jim. I really admire Jim Miller. Facing him was probably the most nervous I’ve been in a long time. I was losing sleep.”

Miller said his loss in August, which reportedly came while he was suffering from mononucleosis, still had moments in which he had Henderson in trouble. But he couldn’t put the full package together that night to get the win.

Henderson challenges Edgar for the title next month, and Miller might not be far behind thanks to his Submission of the Night win over Guillard.

I train to get beter every day. I train to be dangerous,” Miller said. “Tonight, that helped me get out on top. I was still dangerous even when I was hurt. I know I can put guys in trouble, and it’s just a matter of doing every little thing right and making them tap or getting the TKO.”

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