The main event at TUF 18 Finale was a 155lb. battle between long time rivals Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz, and the result couldn’t have been more decisive; Diaz dispatched of Maynard like a boss in the very first round. The first TKO that Diaz has scored in three years has raised questions about Maynard’s ability to compete, but also leads us to pondering on where Diaz goes next.
Winner of TUF 5 Lightweight bracket, Diaz’s record has been a mixed bunch of lower-high level wins and top level losses. His best wins to date have been over Jim Miller, whom he submitted to earn a title shot, and last night’s win over ‘The Bully’. Losses include a beatdown at the hands of Benson Henderson when they fought for the title last December, a TKO loss at the legs of Josh Thomson and numerous other L’s to result in his 17-9 tally.
There has been possibly premature talk of a title shot from Diaz himself, although the win last night certainly showed he is ready for a top five fight; so what are his options? Well Diaz’s homeboy Gil Melendez is not an option, Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson will soon be out of there UFC on Fox title eliminator fight so that’s them out of the question. The only viable option is TJ Grant, who is out for the foreseeable future.
Diaz even mentioned in the PFPC that he would sit out and wait for the title picture to sort itself out:
“I’m thinking maybe I’ll sit on the sideline for a good, long minute until somebody gets injured, and then [I can] fight for a title, like everybody else is doing,”
With the situation in the top five considered, I think that a fight with Rafael Dos Anjos or Khabib Nurmagomedov would make the most sense. Who knows how long Diaz could be sidelined waiting for the top end of the Lightweight division to get healthy (or injured). Who do you guys want to see Diaz go up against next? Personally I’d like to see Nurmagomedov vs. Diaz.