From the Octagon to the Woods: Q&A with Jim Miller

posted on January 19, 2012

One of the things that makes hunting so enjoyable is that anyone can do it—including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trained UFC fighters like Jim Miller, who occasionally loves to step outside the Octagon to focus on tackling whitetails rather than lightning-fast fighting machines like Melvin Guillard, who he's set to square off with tomorrow night.

Miller sat down with the staff to talk about hunting, shooting, fighting and his passion for the NRA. The full interview can be seen below.

Catch Jim's showdown with Melvin Guillard at 9 p.m. tomorrow night on the UFC on FX. What excites you most about hunting?

JM: For me personally, it’s kind of the work involved. I like doing things and having to put that work in for something. I enjoy the process from beginning to end. All the little things, from making sure the knives are sharp, to scent control and all that stuff too, just the whole process that it involves. What makes you so passionate about the NRA?

JM: I am a huge supporter of the Second Amendment and I stand behind everything that the NRA does to preserve the rights of the American public. When did you start hunting?

JM: I think I began hunting when I was about 15 or so. Our father grew up hunting, they had pointers and beagles and stuff like that. He always hunted as a kid. When we were young, my brothers and I, he was working a lot trying to help support four children. So we really didn’t get a chance to go out with him when we were smaller. We took it upon ourselves once we were teenagers to get our hunting licenses and make that step. That’s one of my favorite things about bird hunting, is that it’s something that the family does together. Often times it’ll be my father and my brothers and I, and my wife will come along, and my brother’s wives will come along. It’s bringing us closer together. Do your wives all hunt with you?

JM: My wife is really the only one that’ll do a little bit with us. The others just kind of hang out and watch the dogs work. My wife has gotten a couple of birds. She’s been wanting to come out deer hunting with me. What do you usually hunt?

JM: I got out a little bit pheasant hunting this year, but it’s whitetail mostly. It wasn’t a very good year for me to get out. We just had a son in September that’s keeping us a little bit busy. Do you have a gun of choice when you're out in the field? What's your favorite model?

JM: I like them all! I guess I probably have to say a Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter that’s pretty lucky for me. I’ve had it for three seasons and I’ve gotten a buck every year with it. I always have a good vibe when I go out with it. Is there anything that you've always wished you could hunt?

JM: A lot of things. One of my dreams is to go over to Africa. I’d love to get the opportunity to hunt a water buffalo or something like that. That’d be amazing. Stateside, I have this fascination with the sheep and stuff like that. It’s so hard and there’s so much involved and it’s just a very physical hunt. I think it’d be really cool to try to get a Dall sheep. Where do you usually do your hunting now?

JM: I’m from northwestern New Jersey, about a half an hour each from the Pennsylvania area and the New York area. It’s decently rural. There’s some state land and stuff like that that we hunt. It’s not as big backwoods as I’d like to and dream about, but there are opportunities. We know your schedule keeps you busy, but do you ever get a chance to shoot recreationally?

JM: A little bit. [My brother] and I will go up to the Cherry Ridge Shooting Range up by us. We’ll get up there and get to play around a little bit every so often, not as much as I’d like to. Do you have a gun you've always wanted to take a few shots with?

JM: You know, I’d love to get behind a .50 cal. Getting cracked in the shoulders by one of those would be pretty fun. Are hunting and shooting hobbies that your fellow fighters embrace?

JM: A little bit. A couple of the guys that we train with have just gotten into it. Our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor just started shooting and getting into it two or three years ago. There are a couple guys that show some interest, and there are some other guys that really don’t. Now lets talk about your fight tomorrow. Are you ready?

JM: I am completely ready. I’ve had a great training camp for this fight, I’ve been healthy and I feel really anxious and ready to get in there and mix it up with Melvin. What can you tell us about Melvin Guillard?

JM: He’s a very dangerous opponent. He’s proven that, and he’s got the same bad taste in his mouth as I have in mine. We’re both trying to wash that away and get rid of it and get back to the winning ways. I don’t expect him to roll over very easily and accept defeat here. I expect to have a very tough fight on my hands. Are what you do to get ready for a fight and what you do to get ready for a hunt similar in any way?

JM: I think when it comes to shooting there are actually a lot of similarities, like the state of mind that you have to be in. I haven’t gotten the opportunity to do much with tactical handguns or stuff like that, but I’ve watched tons of videos, read a bunch about it and I clear my house all the time, doing dry fires and stuff like that. My wife thinks I’m crazy. I went to Fort Hood last year and was at their Warrior Training Center, and they’re teaching their soldiers to be in an alert state of mind but not focused on any one thing in particular.It’s a very similar mindset you have to have when you’re in a fight. Your eyes are on your opponent but you’re not focused one any one little thing because you have threats coming from every angle. I think that any time you can spend with that mindset is going to help when you’re there and help deal with threats from different angles. There’s definitely a correlation between the two.

More About Jim:

A lifetime New Jersey resident, Jim Miller fights out of the AMA Fight Club in Whippany, N.J. He has posted a 20-3 record as a professional fighter.

The Miller/Guillard fight will be held Friday, Jan. 20 in Nashville, Tenn and aired on the UFC on FX at 9 p.m.


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