Nate Diaz will be the next to get a shot at Benson Henderson’s Lightweight Title. A 5 time Fight Of The Night winner, a 5 time Submission Of The Night winner, and the owner of a 3 fight winning streak, this will be the first title opportunity for Diaz at 155. Mentioned below are 5 defining moments that got Diaz to where he is.
5: The Triangle Heard Around The World
Nate Diaz vs Kurt Pellegrino – UFC Fight Night: Florian vs Lauzon – April 2nd, 2008
After winning his first two fights via submission in dominant performances over Alvin Robinson and Junior Assuncao, Diaz demanded some stronger competition. BJJ blackbelt Pellegrino was the one to answer the call. This proved to be an ill-fated decision. In the second round, Diaz capitalized on an opening and cinched in a picture perfect triangle choke. So perfect, in fact, that Diaz was able to flex and throw up the double middle fingers forthose in attendance before finishing off the choke and securing the Submission Of The Night victory.
4: Taking After Big Brother
Nate Diaz vs Takanori Gomi – UFC 135 – September 24th, 2011
In 2007, Nate’s older brother Nick Diaz submitted Takanori Gomi via gogoplata, but the victory was changed to ano contest due to Diaz testing positive for marijuana. Fast forward 4 years later, and it was little brother Nate’s turn to try to snuff out “The Fireball Kid.” Nate made it a quick affair, submitting Gomi in the first round via armbar, and successfully jump-starting his momentum in his return to the Lightweight division.
3: Stuff ‘Em And Snuff ‘Em
Nate Diaz vs Melvin Guillard – UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs Guillard – September 16th, 2009
In the main event of the night, Diaz and the explosive Melvin Guillard were set to collide. Guillard came out swinging, scoring a knockdown with a hard hook almost immediately. Nate showed that his brother’s granite chin certainly runs in the family, as he was peppered by many hard shots from Guillard, but the blows only seemed to make his own boxing more precise, as Diaz began to string together combinations as Guillard slowed. Then, Guillard attempted to work a takedown, Diaz hooked a modified guillotine choke, showed it to the crowd in attendance, and put Guillard away in his 3rd Submission Of The Night victory.
2: Record Breaker
Nate Diaz vs Donald Cerrone – UFC 141 – December 30th, 2011
Fresh off his victory over Gomi, Diaz was set to face another stand-up enthusiast with an outstanding ground game in Donald Cerrone. Diaz kept the action close, overwhelming Cerrone with his volume-style boxing while never giving Cerrone a chance to open up with his kickboxing arsenal until the 3rd, when Cerrone began to work footsweeps on Diaz, who, like his brother, tends to fight heavy on his front foot. Despite the last minute foot sweeps,the fight never hit the ground, and Diaz set a new CompuStrike record for accuracy, connecting on 258 of 314 of his punches, which comes out to an astounding 82 percent. After a career-defining performance like that, it was time Nate Diaz got an opportunity to call himself a contender, which led to…
1: The Clincher
Nate Diaz vs Jim Miller – UFC on Fox: Diaz vs Miller – May 5th, 2012
Riding a now 2 fight winning streak, Nate Diaz had arrived in the main event of the 3rd UFC on Fox broadcast. His opposition was a fellow contender in Jim Miller, an opponent who had won 8 of his last 10 fights and had never been finished in his entire professional career. Miller was known for his rock-solid chin and his BJJ blackbelt, but neither were able to save him. Diaz outboxed Miller for the majority of the first 2 rounds, before catching Miller mid-takedown with a rolling Guillotine Choke, capturing his Lightweight Title shot and his 5th Submission Of The Night bonus.
Diaz now finds himself main-eventing a UFC on Fox broadcast once again, as he will be standing across the Octagon From Lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson on December 8th when the Ultimate Fighting Championship presents UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Diaz. Will Henderson make Diaz his second title defense or will Diaz be bringing UFC gold home to Stockton, California? Only one way to find out, and that is to tune in.