This Sunday night top UFC lightweight Jim Miller will square off against former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson in a bout that could propel him into title contention.
Miller has gone undefeated over his last seven fights, a win streak which many believe cements him as the top contender at 155lbs. Whether he deserves the shot or not, the current logjam at lightweight (caused by champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard’s postponed rubber match) puts Miller in a situation similar to the one Rashad Evans was recently occupying. He could wait on the sidelines indefinitely for his title shot to materialize, or he could stay busy and keep fighting.
Miller has chosen the latter and will be risking his place at the top against a threatening contender like Henderson. As a result, Miller is currently focused only on fighting Henderson — the title shot can wait.
“You know, in my opinion you’ve got to look at every fight as the most important fight of your career,” said Miller during the recent UFC on Versus 5 media conference call. “I have 20 wins but if I had lost one of those wins I wouldn’t be in the situation I am right now. So my main focus is just on the 14th and Ben and you know, it’s a tough fight and that’s where my eyes are locked. I’m just preparing for that fight and nothing else.”
Henderson found his way into the UFC when the promotion swallowed the WEC and its lighter weight classes. With the lightweight division overlapping, only the best form the WEC were imported. Around the time that Henderson and his peers were brought over, Miller was quoted predicting that most of them would end up floundering in the deep waters of the UFC’s lightweight division. The WEC lightweights have had mixed results in the Octagon so far, but some of them — like Henderson — have shown what most have always known about the WEC’s lightweight stable: these guys are seriously talented fighters that have the potential to truly make a splash in the UFC.
Miller clarified his comments during the conference call.
“You know, they’re a tough group of guys. What got me is that there was some talk that the ten guys or whatever they were bringing over were just going to steamroll everybody in the UFC division and just walk their way through, which I didn’t think was very respectful to the guys in the UFC,” said the 27-year-old New Jersey native. “You know, they’ve definitely I think they’ve won just as many as they’ve lost. It’s 50/50 right now. And the biggest win they’ve had is Ben’s win (over Mark Bocek). You know, so yes, I mean they’re a tough group of guys but this is a tough division and you know, we’ll see how the rest of it goes. We’ll see how it goes on the 14th.”
Miller and Henderson will meet this Sunday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the co-main event of UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle.