UFC on Fox 3: What's on the Line for Nate Diaz When He Faces Jim Miller
Nate Diaz will have a great deal on the line when he faces Jim Miller on Saturday, May 5 in the main event of UFC on Fox 3. Diaz believes a victory over Miller will put him in line for a shot at the UFC lightweight title. A win will also allow him to move out from under the shadow cast by his older brother Nick and the other fighters he trains with as a member of the Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu team.
There’s no doubt that the younger Diaz is proud to be part of the Cesar Gracie squad, but he lacks something that other members of the team posses or have possessed, championship gold. His brother Nick has worn championship belts in the WEC and Strikeforce, Jake Shields has been a champion in Shooto, EliteXC and Strikeforce while Gilbert Melendez was a WEC champion before capturing the Strikeforce lightweight title, a belt that he currently holds.
Diaz has had a chance at a title in the past, failing in his attempt to wrest the WEC lightweight title from Hermes Franca at WEC 24. Following that loss Diaz received the call to appear on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Diaz, fighting under coach Jens Pulver would defeat Rob Emerson, Corey Hill and Gray Maynard before meeting Manny Gamburyan in the season finale. Diaz would be awarded the UFC contract after a shoulder injury forced Gamburyan to tap out just 20 seconds into the second round. The victory may have been somewhat hollow, but it provided Diaz entry into the UFC.
Does Nate Diaz deserve a title shot with a win over Jim Miller?
Once on the UFC roster Diaz would not look back. Sure there were some close calls, as he lost two in a row twice during that run, but all in all he has fared fairly well, compiling a record of 9-5 since the victory over Gamburyan.
Diaz is currently on a two-fight winning streak, earning Fight Night bonuses in each of those victories. His last bout took place at UFC 141 where he met Donald Cerrone. Cerrone came into the fight with all the momentum in the world, winning four fights during 2011 and looking to earn a shot at the UFC lightweight title. It did not take Diaz long to halt Cerrone’s momentum.
When the fight began there was no touch of the gloves between the two fighters, but Cerrone did offer Diaz a single-finger salute as the fighters went back to their respective corners.
Diaz dominated Cerrone over the course of the first two rounds, never allowing Cerrone to establish himself in any form. When the third round began, Diaz let Cerrone know that he had not forgotten the middle finger that he had thrown his direction during the fight instructions, upping the ante and delivering a double “Stockton Heybuddy” right back at Cerrone. Cerrone, bloodied and breathing through an open mouth, offered nothing in return.
When the fight concluded and the scorecards gave the unanimous decision to Diaz, it came as no surprise to anyone in the arena or watching the event on pay-per-view.
That brings us to today, less than one week from what may be the biggest fight of Nate Diaz’s career. A victory over Miller should put his name in the mix for a shot at the winner of the upcoming UFC lightweight title shot between current champion Benson Henderson and former champion Frankie Edgar. It would also show the world what his Gracie team members already know, that Nate Diaz, while not possessing the assorted hardware that his teammates posses, is a fighter that stands in the shadow of no man.
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