Only one year ago, Jim Miller was the UFC’s fastest-rising lightweight. The New Jersey native won seven consecutive UFC fights and was a victory away from a UFC lightweight title shot.
Since then, Miller has lost three of five fights. After Saturday’s loss to Pat Healy at UFC 159, the one-time title contender dropped down to No. 8 in the UFC lightweight rankings.
The 29-year-old Miller had high hopes coming into Saturday’s fight against Healy. Coming off a “Fight of the Night” victory over Joe Lauzon at UFC 155, Miller jumped up to No. 4 in the lightweight rankings. With the No. 2-ranked Anthony Pettis rumored to be moving permanently to featherweight soon, a win Saturday night over Healy would seemingly put Miller only a fight away from a title shot.
Miller had everything going for him early in Saturday’s bout. Fighting in front of his hometown fans, Miller dropped Healy early in the first round and nearly finished him before the horn sounded. Unfortunately, Miller began to fade and Healy took the fight over in the third round.
Miller, who had previously been stopped only once in his 26-fight MMA career, ran out of gas late in the fight and was submitted by way of a rear-naked-choke with just under a minute remaining.
A downtrodden Miller had few words for the media after Saturday’s fight. In a brief exchange with NJ.com, Miller succinctly stated his disappointment. “I’m disappointed to say the least … nothing more to say.”
Miller knows with the recent influx of top lightweights from Strikeforce, he will have an extremely difficult time climbing the ladder back to UFC title contention.