Jim Miller walks forward in a UFC octagon with his opponent down in the background.

Meet Jim Miller: UFC Fighter, Hunter, and Homesteader

Dive into the life of UFC's Jim Miller! Explore his fighting career, self-sufficient farming lifestyle, family life, and ties with Montana Knife Company.
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Jim Miller is an American mixed martial artist and a competitor in the UFC’s lightweight division. He holds the record for the most wins in the UFC lightweight division and is the younger brother of former UFC fighter Dan Miller.

Jim lives in New Jersey with his wife, Angel, and their four children, Amelia, Wyatt, Cassidy, and Sawyer. They try to grow, raise, hunt, harvest, and forage as much food as possible on their property and the public land surrounding it.

We interviewed Jim to learn more about his career, family, lifestyle of self-sufficient farming, and history with Montana Knife Company.

Infographic: Meet Jim Miller: UFC Fighter, Hunter, and Homesteader

Q: Did Jim Always Want to Build a Self-Sufficient Farm?

Jim told us he’s always aspired to have a self-sufficient farm and homestead. He grew up in a family that cooked homemade dishes — from jams to salsas — and described food as a “love language” in his household. He and his brothers spent countless hours in the garden and woods surrounding their home.

Jim enjoys going to a steakhouse every now and then, but says once you cook a great steak yourself at home, it’s hard to find anything that tastes that good again.

“There’s nothing better than pulling a backstrap out of the freezer, cooking it medium-rare, and getting a good sear on it,” he says.

His plans for a homestead have changed over the years, but his passion for cooking, hunting, growing, and harvesting his family’s food hasn’t. 

Jim was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, which taught him a lot about cooking, training, and changing his diet and lifestyle for the better. He says living holistically and eating food from the farm helped him make a full recovery.

Q: What Does a Typical Day Look Like on Jim’s Property?

A typical day in Jim’s life depends on whether he has a fight coming up. If so, he focuses heavily on training. If not, he focuses on farm chores.

Usually, after feeding the animals and getting the kids to school, Jim squeezes in a workout or two. When the kids are home, Jim says he and his wife are always “running around” to and from their kids’ extracurriculars, which include softball, baseball, and dance. Jim tends to the farm whenever he has extra time.

In his free time, Jim doesn’t watch movies or TV — “only on airplanes,” he says. Instead, he spends time “tinkering,” or learning new things. His father was a framer and always built his family’s furniture, and Jim enjoys building and woodworking too.

Q: What Is Jim Teaching His Children About the Outdoors?

Jim’s four children are interested in the outdoors, but he recognizes the need for balance between modern conveniences and what he describes as the “rustic, rural, and primitive.” He wants his kids to know how to navigate both worlds, since he understands it’s likely they’ll make a living “in front of a computer screen.”

Jim aspires to take each of his kids on one-on-one, overnight camping trips. However, there are a few prerequisites — it has to be cold, and the conditions need to be a little nasty. “I want them to be a little uncomfortable and a little hungry, but still have fun and enjoy the time not being in front of an iPad, TV, or phone.”

So far, Jim has taken three of his four kids on overnight camping trips. It was 18°F when he camped with his youngest daughter, Cassidy, and 20°F when he camped with his youngest son, Sawyer. Jim said his oldest daughter, Amelia, had it “easy” — it was nearly 40°F on their trip.

Quote: Meet Jim Miller: UFC Fighter, Hunter, and Homesteader

Q: Is There a Particular Meal Jim Is Excited to Cook, Smoke, or Grill Soon?

Jim says he’s the “worst” cook in his family, but from what we’ve heard, he’s still pretty great. It sounds like there’s tough competition in the Miller family!

Jim aspires to build a smokehouse and then catch and smoke a bunch of fresh-caught trout. He grew up fishing more than hunting, so while he views hunting as a lifestyle, he sees fishing as a relaxing pastime.

Q: What Drew Jim to Montana Knife Company?

Jim met Josh Smith, Master Bladesmith and Founder of Montana Knife Company, at the Total Archery Challenge (TAC). Jim saw John Dudley — a professional archer — with a cool knife he hadn’t seen before, and after finding out it was an MKC knife, he got in contact with Josh.

Jim says he works his knives hard and “puts them to the test,” so he was impressed with the quality of the MKC blade. After the supply chain issues of 2020, Jim respected that MKC sources their materials from the U.S., even when it requires sacrificing profit margins.

The idea of not taking the easy route resonated with Jim. He followed up by “setting an alarm” for every time MKC released a new knife, so he could support the company as much as possible.

Jokingly, Jim says he “hates” that Josh has set the bar so high. Now that Jim is planning to start a new company, he wants to run it with as much excellence as MKC — but feels it’s a challenge to compete with MKC’s standards.

Jim’s favorite MKC knife is the Blackfoot, which he carries daily. He also said he was “giddy” when he got the Stonewall Skinner in the mail, and that he’s a “huge sucker” for the Speedgoat.

Q: What’s Next for Jim — Both in Fighting and Farming?

Career-wise, Jim says he can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.” He wants the UFC 300 in July 2024 to be his final MMA fight.

Jim says he’s lucky he’s had his wife’s support to turn fighting into a career. However, he also says it’s a “tough game,” and he’ll be 40 in August. Jim always planned to quit fighting at 34, so he’s looking to shift gears soon.

“I want to get paid to do stuff I love,” Jim says about the next chapter of his life. “I think that’s going to mean having a few irons in the fire and a couple different streams of income.”

Jim says his family calls their farm “Calamity Farm” because something is always going wrong. He’d love to share some educational, inspiring, and entertaining content to help more people become self-sufficient and learn about homesteading.


by Josh Smith, Master Bladesmith and Founder of Montana Knife Company