Nate Diaz Is the Biggest Threat in the Lightweight Division
After dropping to lightweight, Nate Diaz has amassed a three-fight winning streak against the division’s best fighters—Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller.
In all these fights he’s looked utterly dominant, far above the chasing pack.
This is a remarkable turnaround for an athlete who was still attempting to straddle two weight classes until only last year. The decision to stick with lightweight was prompted by two back-to-back losses at the higher weight, and the fighter hasn’t looked back since.
Training alongside his enigmatic brother, Nick, Nate has some of the best boxing and best submissions game at lightweight, making him the biggest threat in the division.
However, the division is stacked. Probably the most stacked in the UFC right now. Aside from champion Ben Henderson, Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis, Gray Maynard, Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone are all potential champions.
Potential, that is, and Nate’s potential at the moment is still unrealized. As things stand, he's achingly close to a title shot, having been named next in line to fight for the belt.
And there’s every chance he has what it takes.
A Caesar Gracie black belt, his BJJ credentials are impeccable, as evidenced by two highly impressive submissions against Takanori Gomi at UFC 135 and Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3.
The victory over Miller, an accomplished submission artist himself, has given second thoughts to any opponent wanting to test Nick on the mat.
His boxing, too, is of the highest order, as evidenced by his three round hammering of Muay Thai expert Cerrone.
In a style reminiscent of his older brother, Nate pushed the pace throughout the fight with a flurry of punches, landing more significant strikes in that match than any fighter ever has in the UFC. In terms of accuracy, he’s far ahead of champion Ben Henderson or challenger Frankie Edgar.
His punches may not be the most powerful, unlikely to knock anybody out, but they are, nevertheless, devastating.
However, we know he has weaknesses. His wrestling is not, yet, a strong point. He was thrown around like a rag-doll by Rory MacDonald in their fight. But he’s young and still learning.
At 27 he’s younger than Henderson, Edgar, Cerrone and Maynard.
There are other factors which also make Nate the biggest threat in the lightweight division. He is a tall rangy southpaw, and tall rangy southpaws are the current flavour for UFC champions. They include both Anderson Silva and Jon Jones among them. Length gives him an advantage both in the strike game and when it comes to submissions.
All combined, Nate is the picture of a future champion with all the momentum behind him to prove the biggest threat in the division.
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