At UFC 141, Johny Hendricks emerged as one of the best fighters in the 170-pound class, thanks to his 12-second knockout of Jon Fitch, who at the time was widely considered to be the second-best fighter in the world.
Now that Hendricks is regarded as a legitimate top-10 threat, many battles are now possible for the Texan, namely that of Nick Diaz, who will be vying for the promotion's interim welterweight title this February opposite of former WEC champ Carlos Condit.
Should Diaz prove victorious, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Stockton fighter could be taking on Hendricks, looking to defend his crown against the powerhouse wrestler who wields some real knockout power.
Hendricks always has a puncher's chance at victory, though Diaz's boxing prowess will give just about anyone cause for concern.
Diaz's physical traits are arguably his best asset, as the 6'1" welterweight wields a 76-inch reach advantage, which rivals that of most opponents.
Utilizing his jab, straights and hooks to the body, Diaz could wilt Hendricks as the rounds wear on, and given his high-tempo pace and otherworldly cardio, the Californian could implement his striking in an effort to outgun and out-hustle the heavy-handed Hendricks, whose only chance to victory on the feet would be that head-severing left hook.
One of the more accomplished collegiate wrestlers to enter the sport, Johny Hendricks is a stocky yet powerful juggernaut on the mat.
A former two-time NCAA Division I champion, Hendricks has been able to use his skills on the mat and successfully bring them inside the cage, having been only once defeated in his career, losing a close decision to fellow wrestling ace Rick Story.
Diaz, however, may have the tools to rival Hendricks' dominant top-game prowess, thanks to his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Cesar Gracie.
When he's not on the feet, Diaz has shown that he is more than capable of submitting just about anyone on the canvas.
However, one facet of his game that has been left wanting has been his lack of take-down defense, which a guy like Hendricks would be able to expose easily, though he must be aware of the dangerous guard that Diaz possesses.
Though Hendricks has emerged as one of the best in his class, he still remains a relatively inexperienced fighter whose four years in the sport cannot compete with Diaz's 10.
Hendricks could put Diaz in a few precarious situations early, though the former Strikeforce champ's cardio and relentless pace will eventually wear on Hendricks, who will be out hustled in later rounds as Diaz takes home the close decision win.