Jim Miller lives up to every expectation one would have of a professional fighter.
At age 32, Miller will compete for the 38th time in his career when he faces Dustin Poirier at UFC 208 on Saturday at Barclays Center.
When the call comes, he answers, and he’ll keep answering for the foreseeable future.
“It’s fun. It’s part of me. It’s who I am,” Miller said. “I fortunately haven’t had to deal with any catastrophic injuries, knock on wood, but it’s been a good road and I’ve had fun doing it. I’ve had my ups and downs.”
Those ups include a 9-1 stretch to start his UFC career between 2008-11, as well as a current three-fight win streak against Takanori Gomi, Joe Lauzon and Thiago Alves.
The downs? Aside from a 1-4 stretch in which he was finished twice before his current winning streak, Miller was diagnosed with Lyme disease ahead of his fight with Gomi at UFC 200 last July and has been working to stay healthy since.
But Miller personifies being a fighter, and that mentality helped him get through the pain.
“I’ve always been comfortable with discomfort and I got better with that when I started fighting and going through my career, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and all these things, it hurts,” Miller said. “So I think it helped me deal with the constant pain and discomfort. If I wasn’t a fighter, I don’t know how I would have done.”
Miller said it was both a physical and mental battle to keep himself focused while battling the disease.
“The physical aspect of it was hard. I could be warmed out and then you go to get up and your knees hurt, out of the blue,” Miller said. “The mental aspect, that was definitely difficult. Knowing what I’m capable of kind of carried me through.”
Miller will need to feel well to get past Poirier on Saturday. Before a knockout loss to Michael Johnson last September, Poirier was riding a four-fight win streak since moving to lightweight.
“I’m confident that anything that he’s gonna throw at me I’ve seen,” Miller said. “He still is a very dangerous fighter, though. It’s an exciting fight for me because I know he’s probably gonna bring his best at me. That’s what I’m looking for.”
With Mark La Monica