UFC 124: Where Does a Victory Put Jim Miller in the Title Hunt?
Tonight, the UFC takes their traveling show of brutality to the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec for UFC 124. The card is headlined by Quebec's own Georges St. Pierre defending his UFC Welterweight Championship against Josh Koscheck.
Usually when there is such a big name in the main event, the pay-per-view viewers get somewhat short-changed when it comes to big names on the undercard. And tonight is no different.
Nonetheless, there still are some very interesting matchups that may lack a marquee name, but supply plenty of intrigue for the hardcore fans.
I know I'm quite curious to see if Sean McCorkle is enough of a heavyweight prospect to best the now tested and durable Stefan Struve.
Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig is a bit of a dud, but the opening bout pitting former title challenger Thiago Alves against John Howard should make up for that one.
Most of all, I'm eager to see what blue chip prospect Charles Oliveira is capable of doing to Jim Miller.
Oliveira exploded onto the MMA big stage this year with two impressive submission victories in the UFC over Darren Elkins and Efrain Escudero—and won two fights in Warriors Challenge earlier in the year, one by submission and one by a knockout slam.
Now Oliveira faces by far his stiffest challenge in the young veteran Miller.
Miller is currently on a five fight win-streak in the UFC, and out of 20 fights has only lost to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard—the two men fighting for the Lightweight Title in the next UFC event.
In both of those losses he made a respectable showing and went the distance.
Now, it's easy to see what a win over Miller would do for Oliveira. He would then be a bona fide contender and on the fast track to MMA stardom, similar to the path Jon Jones has been on. But what a win would do for Miller's career is a little more tricky.
We all know how fickle sports fans can be, especially MMA fans. When a fighter is winning, he is the greatest of all time. When he is losing, he was never that good to begin with. Miller is in a tough spot with the fair-weather followers of the sport by facing such a young prospect.
If he loses, then he sucks and just got beat by a guy with less than half the number of fights under his belt.
If he wins, people will deny that he deserves a shot at the title because all he did was beat a green prospect that wasn't ready for this level of the game.
Do I think that? Absolutely not. But, these fans are impossible to please and somewhat sadly, they do control more than they realize.
If Miller wins, he will be 8-1 in the UFC, with his only loss being to the present top contender. That is quite a bit more than many top contenders have done, but for some reason Miller just doesn't catch on with the fans.
He's not flashy. He doesn't talk trash.
He's a tough blue-collar fighter that gets the job done. And for the followers of this sport that have grown absolutely tired of the repetitive hype and phony conflicts, it's a breath of a fresh air.
With a win tonight, Miller should stand right behind George Sotiropoulos in the short line for Lightweight Championship contention.
But, let's not forget: beating Oliveira would be a very big win, despite what the message board hindsight might tell you.
This article was originally published on TheMMATruth.com