UFC on Fox 3: Nate Diaz Primed to Win Lightweight Title in 2012
Nate Diaz is on an all-out rampage, and nobody in the lightweight division can stop him.
Obviously, Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson might have something to say about that statement, but after showing dramatic improvement yet again at UFC on Fox 3, Diaz is officially ready to snatch the lightweight title.
After a rough start to 2011, Diaz has been on absolute tear. He's made major progress in each of his last three fights, fixing every weakness and sharpening his strengths.
Against Takanori Gomi in September, Diaz's boxing was gorgeous. He devastated the Japanese fighter with precision strikes and even showed off his ground game. After transitioning beautifully from a triangle lock to an armbar, Diaz earned Submission of the Night at UFC 135.
In his next fight against Donald Cerrone, Diaz stepped his game up a notch. He boxed to perfection, landing a ridiculous 82 percent of his strikes. He also showed strong resilience after being swept off his feet multiple times.
On Saturday night, Diaz's evolution as a fighter was on display again. He picked apart Jim Miller on his feet and denied a few takedown attempts. When Miller did get him on the ground, Diaz used his mastery of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to submit Miller with a vicious guillotine choke.
Will Nate Diaz win the title in 2012?
The win improved his professional record to 16-7 and earned him the distinction of being the only man to finish Miller before the final bell.
Now, Diaz will await the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar. He matches up well with both of them, and with his steady improvements from fight to fight, I love his chances.
If he secures the lightweight title this year, the rest of the division is in trouble. At 27 years old, Diaz is entering his physical prime. He's a menace with that 76-inch reach, and his ever-improving ground game makes him one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game.
If Bendo and Edgar aren't careful, 2012 will be remembered as the year of Nate Diaz.
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