Miller (32-16 MMA, 21-15 UFC) returns to action for his record 38th octagon appearance on Saturday when he meets Erick Gonzalez (14-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a lightweight bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.
Given his extreme longevity at the highest level and the fact he’s now 38 years old, retirement discussion is always present around Miller. His opponent told the media that he’d heard Miller intended to retire after this fight, but apparently, that’s not the case.
Miller squashed any retirement talk going into the event, and said it’s still his goal to hang around until UFC 300, because he wants to make history fighting on that card after competing at UFC 200 and UFC 100.
“(He got) bad intel,” Miller told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 195 media day. “Eventually I’ll retire. I feel like it’s the mature thing to do and the responsible thing to do, to be comfortable with the idea because I am 38 years old. As a lightweight, that makes me pretty old for the division. I feel like it’s the responsible thing to do is approach it and not be like, ‘Oh sh*t. I’m not fighting anymore. Now what?’ It does feel like it’s a few years (now) where it’s brought up a lot. I’m OK talking about it.
“I was super close in 2016 when I was sick with Lyme disease and I didn’t know about it. I made concessions like, ‘We can stop this any time.’ Now it’s kind of easy. I already did the hard part. … It’s not happening after Saturday night. I can guarantee you that.”
Miller doesn’t mind speaking on life beyond MMA, but right now, his head is still in the fight game. He gets an interesting matchup at UFC Fight Night 195 in the form of a promotional newcomer in Gonzalez. The 38-fight discrepancy in UFC experience between the two is the biggest margin for a single matchup in company history.
Although it seems like the familiarity on the biggest stage might play in Miller’s favor, he said it ultimately falls on Gonzalez to decide that.
“It all depends on the individual,” Miller said. “I think that one benefit for him is that it’s an Apex fight and it’s not a pay-per-view, a numbered event where you’re going to have 10,000 people, which is a different environment altogether. But I envision myself in his situation. Man, I would be – there’s nothing to lose. That’s what I’m expecting. I’m expecting the guy to come out with nothing to lose, and that’s dangerous.”