MILWAUKEE – It took Jim Miller 31 fights to get his first octagon rematch.
It wasn’t something Miller (29-12 MMA, 18-11 UFC) asked for. Nobody else was available for the winter, and Charles Oliveira (24-8 MMA, 12-8 UFC) volunteered to stand across from him at UFC on FOX 31.
“I’ve never been the picky type,” Miller told MMAjunkie in advance of their FOX-televised fight at Fiserv Forum. “If I get a name, I say yes.”
Miller fully expects Oliveira to be a different person than the one he met in 2010 at UFC 124. He was 27, and Oliveira was 21, so they’ve both grown up since then.
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On Tuesday, it was eight years ago they first locked horns.
“We’re different fighters, and I know that he’s improved and I’ve improved,” Miller said. “When I fought him last time, he was a young man. He wasn’t fully grown up yet.
“So I’m expecting him to be a different fighter. I know he’s dangerous; he was dangerous the last time we fought. But it really hasn’t mattered who’s standing in front of me.”
Since that first meeting, Miller has outpaced Oliveira in fights, making 20 octagon appearances to the Brazilian’s 14. Both have won 10 times, though Miller has suffered more than twice the losses of Oliveira with 10.
Wrestling with an undiagnosed case of Lyme disease, Miller only recently got a hold of the issues that have held back his performance. He still struggles with the medical condition, though he said he’s made improvement over the last year.
Oliveira has won his past two bouts and shown he’s still a dangerous finisher with back-to-back submissions. Miller earned a tapout in his most recent fight after a four-fight skid endangered his UFC career.
Miller never has lost faith that he can beat anyone on any given day.
“I know that I belong fighting top guys in the division,” he said. “I’ve just got to get my stuff together, man.”
And so, he’ll try to get it together against an old friend of sorts. The last time he fought Oliveira, he submitted the submission specialist via kneebar.
Asked how he’d like to finish this time, Miller joked, “Kneebar No. 2.”
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