Nate Diaz is only 26 years old, is coming off a win and is about to face another fighter who is on a six-fight win streak. He has a great chance to win and give himself better opportunities in the MMA.
And even with all of that, he will still never be a legitimate contender for the UFC championship.
At any weight.
Diaz is just too erratic to make the leap from being a fun, talented fighter to anything more. To do it he would need to settle down and focus on not just a specific weight, but also mentally order himself a bit better.
His brother, Nick Diaz, has never done such a thing but he is naturally better at fighting. He just has the ability to still be chaotic outside of the cage while turning in impressive performances when the bell rings.
Nate Diaz doesn't have that same ability, so he has to compensate with focus and determination. Unfortunately, that isn't a skill set that either brother seems to have much of a talent for.
Diaz's biggest problem is that he can't focus.
He can't focus outside the cage mentally.
He can't focus on neutralizing an opponent, even if it means not getting an exciting win.
He can't even focus on a weight class.
He has flipped between 170 pounds and 155 pounds. Even though he was never serious about fighting at welterweight he chose to do so for his own reasons.
The size difference made it hard for him to succeed at that weight, and at the end of his run he went 2-2 with his last two fights both being losses. It hurt his chances at lightweight and he had to beat Takanori Gomi before he was given a better fight.
In Diaz's mind it made sense. He had to move up. Instead of taking a loss and learning from it, Diaz immediately decided to make a major change because he didn't want to emotionally deal with it.
After his loss to Gray Maynard, a fight which Diaz thought he won, he moved up in weight.
He could have chose to look at the tape and see if he could learn something.
He could have shrugged his shoulders and bounced back.
Instead he moved up because he was hotheaded enough to try it.
Without a long-term strategy for what he wants, Diaz is always going to be lacking in what he wants and he is going to fail.
It isn't something that happens just in fighting. No matter what peoples' goals are in life, if they don't plan out what they want in the long run, they are doomed to fail.
So even if Diaz does beat Donald Cerrone he still has to deal with what his next step is going to be.
Diaz doesn't seem like the type that plans out a next step. He just reacts. As long as that is his mentality he will always fight as a challenger and not as a champion.