In Nate Diaz's best performance of his career, the Stockton fighter shined in the co-main event for UFC 141, taking home the "Fight of the Night" in his decisive decision victory.
Unfortunately, the win came at the expense of the previously red hot lightweight contender Donald Cerrone.
The fight quickly became a grudge match as the two traded barbs in the media, eventually culminating in a scuffle at the pre-fight presser.
A motivated and pissed off Donald Cerrone has proven to be a formidable opponent for just about anyone. In his last battle with rival Jamie Varner, Cerrone drew on strength of their initial outing as well as some heated back-and-forth exchanges in the media in order to deftly defeat the former WEC champion in all facets of the game, both on the mat and feet.
Cerrone's stalking and imposing style of fighting has both endeared him to the fans and the UFC head honchos alike, who have taken notice to the "Cowboy's" previous 4-0 run in the organization, which also garnered him several "Fight Night" bonuses over notable opposition in Paul Kelly, Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver.
Nobody could match the pace of the Greg Jackson fighter—none except the cardio savvy Nate Diaz.
The Ultimate Fighter season five vet took a page right out of his brother Nick Diaz's playbook, overwhelming Cerrone with long jabs and hooks to the head and body, wilting the colorful fighter in the early moments of the fight.
Cerrone felt obliged to stand and trade with Diaz, which ultimately lead to his downfall. Once Cerrone abandoned all logic to move the fight up and down, utilizing his wrestling skills in order to deter the takedown-deficient fighter and lull him into a false sense of security before bringing him to the mat.
It was the sort of male bravado that took over Cerrone, who ultimately walked away on the receiving end of defeat, moving him one rung down the ladder of the talent-laden 155-pound class.