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History in the Making: Jim Miller takes on Matt Wiman in this forgotten classic

Photo via <a href="">UFC</a>
Photo via UFC

Just as little as five years ago, it was relatively easy to keep up with every single one of the UFC's events.

Today, there is a pay-per-view (PPV) every month -- sometimes two -- and free cards on SpikeTV and Versus on a regular basis. In fact, the anomaly now is a two or three week period without some kind of UFC programming to be watched.

Some mixed martial arts (MMA) fans might experience a little bit of fight overload. They process so many scraps in such a short time that some really great ones slip through the cracks, the recesses of their brains.

One such bout is the "Fight for the Troops" opener: Jim Miller taking on Matt Wiman.

It probably doesn't help that Miller is the best lightweight no one seems to remember when a possible title contender is discussed. But Miller's demeanor simply mirrors his fighting style: no nonsense and effective.

A win over Ben Henderson -- which would be his eighth consecutive -- at UFC Live: "Lytle vs. Hardy" might finally put the New Jersey native in the number one contender slot and pit him against Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard.

Coincidentally enough, these are the only two men to have beaten Miller.

But first, let's take a look at his bout with Wiman from December 2008 which was that evening's "Fight of the Night."

Let's go!

Jim Miller had only fought two months prior. He made his Octagon debut against David Baron at UFC 89 and beat him by rear naked choke. The submission also pocketed him an extra $40K in performance bonus cash.

But when current UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar fell to injury, matchmaker Joe Silva called on one of his newest employees to step in against Matt Wiman at Fight for the Troops 2.

With only three weeks to prepare, no one was really sure what to expect from this bout.

A close look, shall we?

The two touch gloves in the fight's only moment of non-competitiveness. They immediately start throwing heavy leather with Miller tagging his opponent a few times.

Wiman then bullies the New Jersey fight against the cage and works towards a takedown. Grinding his shoulder against the midsection of Miller, "Handsome" is hoping to suck out as much precious oxygen as he can from his opponent.

Just as he is about to secure the takedown, Miller's feet unexpectedly leave the ground as he pulls ground. For all his work to get the fight to the mat, Wiman was now in danger of getting choked out from a guillotine.

Wiman stays calm however even as Miller's forearm begins to sink deeper and deeper against his throat. Miller ends up on top giving his opponent some breathing room -- literally -- and soon Wiman's head pops out.

But of course, there's still the issue of having 12-1 Jim Miller on top of him.

A trio of hammerfists find their mark against Wiman's jaw as Miller begins to enter into a ground and pound groove. Short elbows are followed up by bigger punches after the mustached fighter postures up to gain some space.

Wiman is bleeding from the bridge of his nose now as he manages to kick his opponent off enough to force a scramble. "Handsome" ends up on top and begins to inflict a little bit of comeuppance on his opponent.

Miller is able to get back to his feet relatively quickly though but eats a hook for his trouble. He shoots off a kick to Wiman's body that causes the Denver native to pause momentarily, enough time to allow Miller a takedown and guillotine attempt.

Wiman survives the second submission attempt as well as the round.

Miller immediately opens up the second round with a takedown attempt that Wiman stuffs after some effort. Back in the center of the Octagon, they reset and begin to trade leather.

A combination from Miller staggers his opponent and he try to find refuse against the cage. From there, Miller unloads. It almost becomes a question of which will happen first: Wiman crumbling to the mat or Miller gassing himself out.

A single-leg from the New Jersey fighter gets Wiman back onto the mat where the rest of the round is spent. More punches and elbows continue to reign down against "Handsome's" already bloody and battered face.

Nothing short of a minor miracle will save Wiman from a loss going into the third round and as he makes his way across the Octagon, it seems like we might see it.

He connects repeatedly against Miller's chin, forcing the fighter to back up against the cage. A well-timed takedown saves Miller from the onslaught and "Handsome" finds himself in the same dire situation he was in for most of the last round.

Two minutes into the round, the servicemen and woman in attendance begin to clap in unison, hoping to energize the two fighters who have been giving it their all for over 10 minutes.

Wiman is able to get to his feet with 120 seconds left and lands a knee to Miller's head while there but his opponent's wrestling is just too much for "Handsome."

A quick scramble and Miller is glued to Wiman's back in search of a rear naked choke but nothing comes of it.

Relentless and bullheaded, Jim Miller completely dominated Wiman and ended his four fight win streak. Miller would go on to lose his one and only bout inside the Octagon to UFC 136 headliner Gray Maynard.

Since then, it's been win after win after win -- with four more wins after that. Kickboxers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) players, and fellow wrestlers have all fallen victim to Miller's unique style of boxing and stand-up.

Will it be enough to best Ben Henderson this Sunday or earn him a title shot?

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