Nate Diaz Returning to Welterweight After UFC on Fox Fight with Josh Thomson

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2013

Nate Diaz will return to the division he compiled a 2-2 record in during 2010 and 2011.
Nate Diaz will return to the division he compiled a 2-2 record in during 2010 and 2011.Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Big changes are in store for Nate Diaz.

It is being reported that the TUF5 winner and former lightweight contender will be leaving the lightweight division following his fight with Josh Thomson this Saturday. His destination? The welterweight division.

This will not be Diaz's first foray at 170 lbs. He posted a 2-2 record during his last go in Georges St-Pierre's realm.

While he initially started well, defeating Rory Markham and Marcus Davis, once he began facing top competition, Diaz's lean, lanky frame became a liability against bigger welterweights, rather than the asset it is for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu at 155 lbs. Both Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald bullied Diaz en route to unanimous-decision victories.

Even though Diaz has enjoyed great success as a UFC lightweight (he currently owns a 9-4 record), this move actually makes a lot of sense. The headline on the upcoming UFC on Fox event is Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez.

Diaz fought Henderson on the UFC on Fox 5 event, losing convincingly to Henderson's effective mix of wrestling and Taekwondo. If Henderson wins, a rematch is extremely unlikely, as with a hyper-competitive lightweight division, Diaz is sitting at the back of a very long line.

Meanwhile, if Melendez wins, both parties will likely outright refuse to fight each other. Melendez, Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz (Nate's brother) and former Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields make up the core of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu team, and that foursome's friendship is as fierce as any in sports.

There is no shortage of young, talented welterweights that would love to fight a recognizable name like Diaz's. Whether or not this move will work out for Diaz is a mystery, however, as there is no question that the fighters at 170 lbs. have only gotten better since he left.