One of Jim Miller's favorite songs is Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans," which is a pretty appropriate anthem for the UFC's workingman contender.

It's easy to talk about the things that Miller is not. He's not particularly powerfully built and he doesn't have an intimidating visage. He has no one physical skill that stands out above the others.

And yet, Miller has put together a 10-2 record in the UFC and has humbled men who seemed bigger, faster and stronger. He's one of an elite group of 24 active fighters with 10 or more UFC victories, which says something considering he could easily be mistaken more often for a factory worker on a 9-to-5 shift than a world-class fighter.

Miller, though, is about performance, not potential, and he wrings every last bit out of his 155-pound body, as those 10 victories attest. He'll put himself on the verge of (and potentially into) a title shot with a victory Saturday over Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC on Fox 3 at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

"Jim is one of those guys who never misses a day at the gym, but sometimes when you say that it can be misleading," Miller's coach Mike Constantino said. "But it's how hard you work when you are there that is the important thing. We could both do the same job. You and I could go in the back yard to rake leaves. We could both be there every day to do it, but at the end of the day, I may come up with one pile and you may work your [butt] off and give me five piles.

[Related: Iole mailbag: Loose and ready, Lavar Johnson primed to become a UFC star]

"Everybody can show up at practice, but it's the amount of effort that you put into everything that you do. When he's in strength and conditioning, he's doing it to a Level 10. When he's on the mat grappling, it's a Level 10. Everything is 100-percent dedication and effort."

By pushing himself beyond normal limits, Miller has made himself into one of the game's most entertaining fighters to watch. He's finished six of his 10 wins – four by submission and two by knockout – and fights with the accelerator pressed at all times.

"I just try to go out and fight and do the things that I'm good at and if I know I'm satisfied and I'm excited about how a fight went, then 95 percent of the people out there are going to be excited about it," Miller said. "So, I just try to go and fight and, fortunately, I'm a little bit reckless at times and sometimes it works out for me. In fights, I just do what I'm good at, and there's a good amount of fans that enjoy my fights."

Miller is a top-level black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and his striking has, as Constantino said, "improved dramatically." If he beats Diaz, though, it may be his background as a collegiate wrestler which makes the difference.

Diaz just received a black belt from Cesar Gracie, and he's become one of the division's top strikers. But if he's vulnerable, it's to someone with good wrestling.

Miller's issue will be getting past Diaz's jab. Diaz has long arms and pops his jab repeatedly, making opponents pay the price for standing in front of him.

[Also: Floyd Mayweather Jr. rants about Manny Pacquiao]

Constantino and Miller have come up with a plan to attack Diaz's strength, but Miller is among the most instinctive fighters in the game.

"He has a very, very high fighter IQ, and I know that's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot," Constantino said. "He's a fighter who is so smart that he can recognize, not only if I guide him on something, but he knows within himself what he needs to improve upon and he's not afraid to do so. His fighter IQ is just off the charts."

Miller's IQ is high enough to know that he's close to landing a shot at the title. Benson Henderson and Frank Edgar will rematch for the belt later this year, likely at UFC 150 in Denver in August.

Henderson beat Miller fairly handily last year, though Miller had mononucleosis during his training camp. Still, it would be tough for the UFC to rematch Henderson and Miller that quickly, and UFC president Dana White told USA Today that Miller isn't guaranteed the next shot.

"We're in one of those situations we were in before with [Phil] Davis and [Rashad] Evans," White told USA Today. "Should Diaz win, Diaz is definitely getting the title shot. Should Miller win, Miller's probably going to be a fight or two away."

Miller, of course, wants to fight for the title, but he mostly just wants to fight. And the tougher the opponent, the better, he said.

"I love fighting and I want to fight badly," Miller said. "And I just don't want to fight anyone. I want the toughest fights I can get. That really motivates me. I consider myself one of the best and capable of beating anyone in the world when I fight my best. I'd have to face and beat all these guys when I was champion, so I have no problem fighting them now. I would love to fight for and win the title, and I think I'm getting there, but mostly, just give me the toughest fights. Nate is one and I love that, and whoever is next, I hope it's another [tough guy.]"

Related video on Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kobe Bryant feels like a 'brand-new' man in Lakers' playoff push
Cubs fans walking 1,900 miles with goat to fight cancer, end curse
New Jersey Devils chase down Philadelphia Flyers with relentless effort

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

UFC Fight Night 66 Gets Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

On the heels of knockout wins in their most recent outings, middleweight contenders Gegard Mousasi and Costas Philippou have been booked to meet at UFC Fight Night 66. Along with a welterweight bout read news >>

‘Surprised’ with failed drug tests, Anderson Silva suggests rematch with Nick Diaz

  • 26 days ago
  • 9 views

Anderson Silva failed a couple drug tests for his UFC 183 middleweight clash with Nick Diaz, and he guarantees he has no idea why. In a video interview with TMZ, the former UFC middleweight champion read news >>

Anderson Silva 'surprised' he failed UFC 183 drug test, offers Nick Diaz immediate rematch

  • 26 days ago
  • 96 views

Why did Anderson Silva fail his UFC 183 drug test? Don't ask "The Spider," because the former middleweight champion has no explanation. In fact, when his manager informed him that Nevada State Athlet read news >>

Not enough 'Showtime': Why UFC champ Anthony Pettis isn't yet a PPV star (Yahoo Sports)

  • 20 days ago
  • 6 views

Pettis is one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in MMA. So why isn't he one of the UFC's biggest stars? read news >>

Not enough 'Showtime': Why UFC champ Anthony Pettis isn't yet a PPV star (Yahoo Sports)

  • 20 days ago
  • 3 views

From Yahoo Sports: Pettis is one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in MMA. So why isn't he one of the UFC's biggest stars? read news >>

Not enough 'Showtime': Why UFC champ Anthony Pettis isn't yet a PPV star (Yahoo Sports)

  • 20 days ago
  • 0 views

From Yahoo Sports: Pettis is one of the most dynamic and exciting fighters in MMA. So why isn't he one of the UFC's biggest stars? read news >>

How a loss turned out to be a good thing for Johny Hendricks (Yahoo Sports)

  • 18 days ago
  • 5 views

From Yahoo Sports: It appears losing the UFC welterweight belt may have helped Hendricks become a better version of himself. read news >>

How a loss turned out to be a good thing for Johny Hendricks (Yahoo Sports)

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

From Yahoo Sports: It appears losing the UFC welterweight belt may have helped Hendricks become a better version of himself. read news >>

UFC 185 'Embedded' video blog, Ep. 4: 'Showtime' dazzles at open workouts, Esparza wins creepy fan cookies

  • 17 days ago
  • 21 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight champion Carla Esparza is nicknamed is "Cookie Monster" because she really loves cookies. With that in mind, one zealous mixed martial arts (MMA) fan read news >>