A few years ago, if someone asked me about Nate Diaz' chances against solid wrestlers like Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar, my answer would have been, "slim to none." However, Diaz has come a long way in the last few years, and it's pretty clear he's ready to face the best lightweight fighters in the UFC.
After putting on an impressive performance against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in his last fight, Diaz displayed his evolution as an MMA fighter on May 5, becoming the first man to finish Jim Miller at "UFC on Fox 3." Nate's takedown defense looked better than ever against Miller, stuffing a few takedown attempts, and outworking him in the clinch. He sealed the deal with his ever impressive BJJ, smoothly securing a power guillotine choke when Miller shot in lazily.
"I just trained for the fight," Diaz told reporters at the post-fight press conference. "I just went out there and fought hard and got started. And I happened to get the win."
With his impressive performance against Miller at UFC on Fox 3, Nate Diaz is now set to face the winner of the Henderson-Edgar II matchup, scheduled to take place later on in the year.
Henderson vs. Edgar II was initially targeted for UFC 150, but that will no longer be the case. The fight will probably take place before the year is over, but a date is yet to be set. Diaz will have to stay on the shelf for a while if he wants to face the winner of the Henderson-Edgar matchup. The Stockton native doesn't have any problems with that though, and he's looking forward to some much needed rest.
"I just want a couple of minutes," Nate said during an interview will Ariel Helwani. "I want to sit down and not even talk about a fight for a few weeks. … I've been fighting every three to five months for the last seven years. I ain't really had no breaks."
Diaz matches up well with Henderson and Edgar, and I expect a memorable fight when the "Ultimate Fighter" season 5 winner gets his first shot at UFC gold. The new Nate Diaz is as well-rounded as it gets in MMA (even though I'd still like to see him throw more kicks with his long legs), and he just might be the UFC's next lightweight champion.
Ariel Helwani, "After UFC on FOX Win, Nate Diaz Wants a Break"
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.