Nate Diaz: Does He Deserve a Title Shot?
This weekend marked FOX’s third foray into conventional TV on the back of the UFC. The event itself was stacked-up with a myriad of well-respected fighters, but the biggest story surrounding the event was the possibility of Nate Diaz, brother to Nick, getting a shot at the title.
Nate has always had a dynamism to his style of fight somewhat similar to his brother, albeit more grounded in BJJ than Nick’s. He carries himself in a manner reminiscent of his brother also, which we already know can prove problematic.
When Nate exploded onto the scene via The Ultimate Fighter, he put together a series of wins that made people take him seriously; his come-from-behind wins always made for a good watch. That said, Nate suffered a setback evident of a number of young fighters – the mental effect of the first loss. After Nate’s first loss in the UFC to Clay Guida, he fell again to Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. After briefly rebounding against Melvin Guillard, Nate Diaz would lose again to Gray Maynard; “cut rumours” started to swarm.
Fast forward to 2011-2012. After a continued streak of inconsistency at welterweight, Nate got his groove back at lightweight and strung together a series of wins against respectable contenders: Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, and most recently last night’s tilt with Jim Miller.
So does this most recent slew of wins entitle him to a shot at the title? I think one could argue, yes. I think the more important question is who else deserves a shot a current champ, Ben Henderson? Frankie Edgar will get the first crack (or re-crack) at Henderson, but after that there is no one else who has put together a series of wins at lightweight that would warrant a title shot. Someone needs to join the queue, and Diaz fits the build.
For all of our sake, I do hope that Henderson beats Edgar, which I am sure he will, as I think a Henderson-Diaz clash would certainly be entertaining.
Other notes from UFC on FOX 3:
- Lavar Johnson and Pat Barry had a hard-fought back-and-forth one round fight with the surging Johnson laying down an impressive TKO on Barry
- Alan Belcher exposed the one-trick game of Rousimar Palahares. Not only did Belecher defend against the leg locks of Palahares, but he took it to him on the ground, eventually sealing the victory by strikes from inside the guard
- Josh Koscheck looked like he wanted another head for his mantel in the first round, but fell prey to the pinpoint striking of Johny Hendricks. Hendricks is starting to position himself for a shot at the title
… and that is the last word.