The UFC’s landmark deal with Fox to bring its fights to network television has also put the promotion on Fox’s FX and Fuel TV channels and the UFC will host its first FX event this Friday with UFC on FX 1 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The main event features two lightweights looking to return to title contention in Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller. The latter, Miller, will be returning to the Octagon for the first time since August, when he lost for the first time in over two years at the hands of Ben Henderson.
After seven consecutive wins in the UFC, Miller was on the brink of earning a title shot, and a rematch with UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who beat Miller in 2006 before either was in the UFC. But that streak came to an end, as Miller lost a decision to Henderson, who is now scheduled to fight Edgar for the title at UFC 144 in February.
However, that loss certainly has not changed Miller’s mindset.
“A win on Friday picks either one of us up from our recent losses,” Miller told MMAFrenzy.com, refering to his loss to Henderson and Guillard’s 47-second defeat to Joe Lauzon at UFC 136 in October.
“I would not say it is a number one contender’s bout, as Guillard has stated, but if things go our way, it could definitely set us up for a title shot in the near future.”
While Guillard has been quoted as saying that he was told this fight is indeed a number one contender’s bout, Miller says it’s just another fight in his mind.
“For me, it is just another fight,” said Miller. “I am very excited to fight Melvin as he is very dangerous and has proven that in previous fights. I feel I matchup well, and I have got to make him fight my fight, which I always try to do.”
Aside from Guillard’s hopes that a title shot is on the line, Guillard’s move from Greg Jackson’s team in New Mexico to training with Rashad Evans and the self-anointed “Blackzilians” in Boca Raton, Florida has dominated the pre-fight storylines. While Jackson was seen as a pivotal figure in the stabilization of the lightweight’s career, Guillard decided to begin training full-time in Florida, after doing so part time prior to his most recent fight at UFC 136.
But even with that change, Miller does not make much of it.
“I never expect a fighter to be the same fighter, regardless of their training camp,” said Miller. “I am always changing things with my own training, so I am always changing, too. Wherever he trains, it does not matter.”
Miller is well aware of just how many changes a training camp can bring, both inside and outside of the gym. Those changes were never more evident, leading up to his most recent fight in August, as he started to feel exasperated in the last week leading up to his fight.
“While I am always tired after training, this was different,” Miller explained. “But I just chalked it up to hard training. I didn’t want to make excuses.”
But excuses could certainly have been made after Miller left the cage on fight night. With both a loss and a sense of confusion on his mind, Miller knew there had to be something more. And there was.
“If I had known I had mono (nucleosis) and a kidney infection going into that fight, I would have pulled out.”
Even with that result and the cause for his performance explained, Miller is still not going to make excuses. With an opportunity to redeem himself on Friday against a prime opponent, Miller is solely focused on climbing the ladder to again contend for the title.
“If I can finish Melvin impressively, I think it puts me right back where I was. It would still take another win to get a title shot, but the division is always changing.”
Many fans have felt that Miller does not get the attention he deserves, along with a title shot he should have been in contention for much sooner. Whether that is due to fighting style or personality, Miller knows he can only control so much.
“You would like to think it always comes down to who the best fighter is, but that is not always the case. Sometimes decisions are made on who can sell the most tickets or pay-per-views, but I know that no matter who it is I am going up against, I can make a fight with anyone.”
For complete coverage of UFC on FX 1 stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com.