The UFC lightweight division has been one of the toughest divisions to earn the coveted No. 1 contender spot. So when a fighter gets there, it means they burned through an entire list of great fighters along the way.

As of right now, following Anthony Pettis’ drop to featherweight to challenge Jose Aldo, there is no clear-cut No. 1 contender after Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez fight for the belt in late April. Unlike other divisions within the promotion, there is no one waiting in the wings to take the next title shot.

Jim Miller faces Pat Healy at UFC 159, which is a mere seven days after the Henderson-Melendez title fight. It seems like perfect timing and with a win, Miller should ultimately get the shot over the rest of the division. Healy is on a six-fight winning streak under the Strikeforce umbrella, but even with a victory over Miller, he is a much harder sell to fans who only follow the UFC. Healy should get at least one more fight in the UFC before ultimately challenging either Henderson or Melendez.

If Henderson comes out on top, it does make the title shot a little harder to give to Miller seeing as the last time those two fought, it was utter domination by Henderson. But, with a win over Healy, Miller would be on a two-fight winning streak and move his record to 21-4. His only losses are to top contenders Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard, former champion Frankie Edgar and the current champion Henderson. Miller is also an entertaining fighter with two “Fight of the Night” and three “Submission of the Night” bonuses, which could make a title shot a little easier to sell.

There really isn’t anyone else to compete with Miller, as everyone else in the division that could be considered a top contender is either coming off a loss or has managed just one win since a loss. Maynard may be in consideration following a win over Clay Guida last year, but he has been out of action ever since and the possibility of facing Henderson after a year-long layoff wouldn’t be the smart play here.

A title shot is something that should be earned. Miller is the only fighter who makes sense at this point in time, if he can beat Healy at UFC 159 in April. If he does that, a title shot should finally be his after years of clawing to get there.

Photo: Jim Miller (L) battles Joe Lauzon at UFC 155 (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.