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Nate Diaz Would Be Making a Mistake by Moving Up to Welterweight

NEW YORK - MARCH 06:   UFC lightweight Nate Diaz speaks at a press conference at Radio City Music Hall on March 06, 2012 in New York City.  UFC announced that their third event on the FOX network will take place on Saturday, May 5 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
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Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2013

Nate Diaz is considering a change in weight classes, but this would be a mistake for the UFC fighter.

The California native has competed in the lightweight division for most of his career, compiling a solid 14-7 record in those matches. He moved up to welterweight for four matches in 2010-11, although he was only able to finish with a 2-2 record before returning to his original position.

Since his return to lightweight, Diaz has had mixed results. He won three straight matches to earn a title opportunity against Benson Henderson. He lost that match by unanimous decision and then suffered a TKO against Josh Thomson.

Prior to that most recent match, however, he was considering a move back to the 170-pound division. The fighter told Dann Stupp and John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com that he was ready to move on from lightweight:

I don't think there's anything for me at the lightweight division. I already beat everyone at lightweight or I fought everyone already. The only person who beat me was Ben, and Gil's going to handle him Saturday. I'm going to sit around and fight the guys all over again? Boring. There's no motivation in that. I'd rather fight someone new.

While the idea of fighting new competitors has merit, the idea that he has no motivation in his current weight class is absurd.

Every competitor should fight to be a champion. Although he lost to Henderson, he should work to get a rematch and do his best to overcome the current titleholder.

His latest loss also proved that there is more competition in the class than Diaz originally anticipated. This was only the second time in his career that he lost a match before the final bell, and he should attempt to avenge this defeat.

There are plenty of other hungry contenders at the top of the division that would all provide a good matchup. However, no one is unbeatable, including Henderson.

That statement is not necessarily true in the next level, where Diaz has already struggled. He lost by unanimous decision against Kim Dong-Hyun and Rory MacDonald, and the weight difference was an obvious factor.

It is tough to imagine Diaz being able to beat welterweight champion George St-Pierre with all of his strength and technique. Sherdog recently ranked the veteran the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Additionally, it does not make sense for him to compete in the same division as brother Nick, who recently lost in his own title shot last month.

If Diaz is only in UFC to keep himself interested with new opponents on a regular basis, it makes sense to change weight classes. However, this would be a terrible move for his career.

Remaining in the lightweight division will allow him to win matches and compete among the best in the world. There are plenty of opportunities for him to succeed and possibly become a champion.

This makes staying the best decision he could make.

 

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