Jarrell Miller is training with the UFC champion while boxing in on a drug ban.
The heavyweight was first shamed in 2019 after failing three pre-fight drug tests and losing close to £4 million to fight Anthony Joshua.
Miller was banned by the governing body WBA for only six months, but was welcomed back by veteran promoter Bob Arum and a top-ranked contract.
But his comeback fight against Jerry Forrest in July 2020 was canceled after another failed drug test, and Arum also cut ties.
Miller was banned for a substantial two years, but during the doping scandal, he continued to train and spent time at Sanford MMA in Florida.
Led by ex-Dutch kickboxer Henry Hooft, it is a premium MMA gym in the US and features the likes of UFC stars Kamaru Osman, 34, Luke Rockhold, 37, and Gilbert Burns, 35.
Miller, who competes professionally in kickboxing, has recently been caught playing with Rockhold, a former champion.
His promoter Dimitri Salita revealed that while kickboxing training has always been a part of American governance, he has his sights set on a boxing return.
Salita told SunSport: “He is getting back in shape with a mind ready to be the best in the division.
“He wants to be an American heavyweight champion of the world from Brooklyn, New York. We haven’t had that in a long time.
“Jerrell always took kickboxing training for his boxing bouts as well.
“It helps him get into shape and is probably one of the reasons he’s so athletic and resilient in the ring for heavyweights.”
In April 2019, Miller first tested positive in a blood sample for human growth hormone (HGH), which is on the banned list by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
A urine sample after that also showed traces of EPO—which is known to carry oxygen and combat fatigue—as well as GW1516, which helps promote endurance and fat loss.
Miller blamed the positive tests on an injured elbow and injection of a tainted supplement.
When he returned a year later, again to test positive for GW501516, he insisted this time that it was for a sex pill.
This earned him a two-year ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which can be reduced to 18 months if he completes a drug testing program.
This would mean he could return by January 2022, but it is not clear whether those conditions were met.
Promoter Salita knows that Miller’s first fight will be to win over fans again as she expects a raucous reception upon her return.
He said: “It’s going to happen. I believe Jarrell has learned his lessons and knows he has many years to make a mark in the division.
“Positive, responsible action in and out of the ring is the most important and something that fans will see, can’t blame anyone for that.”
More recently, Miller — who hasn’t fought a fight after beating Bodgan Dinu in November 2018 — has hooked up with boxing trainer Kevin Cunningham in Florida.
And while not competing with the MMA elite, he shared the rounds in the gym with former rival Dinu, 35, as well as current contenders Adam Konaki, 32, and Christopher Lovejoy, 37.
Miller may have missed out on fighting AJ—who lost in place of Andy Ruiz Jr. and then went on to win the rematch—but the boxing villain has set his sights on Tyson Fury.
Fury, 33, recently knocked out Deontay Wilder, 36, in their trilogy match at their adopted American home in Las Vegas.
And to fill in as America’s next world title challenger, Miller will once again wear the gloves on a super-fight with the Gypsy King.
Salita said: “This fight is probably the biggest heavyweight promotion in a long time. It could be very exciting.
“One step at a time but that would be overwhelming.”