What’s Next for Nate Diaz?

“Ultimate Fighter” season five winner Nate Diaz put on the best performance of his MMA career at UFC 141, earning a well deserved decision against Donald Cerrone.

Diaz was the underdog going into the fight, but he obviously wasn’t bothered by that fact. Diaz wasted no time against Cerrone, seemingly connecting at will with crisp combinations. Cerrone looked more composed in the second round, sending Diaz to the ground several times with some pretty solid low-kicks. Unfortunately for Cerrone, he strayed away from his game plan in the final round and Diaz was able to walk away with the decision.

“I want to fight the best person I can fight: the highest ranked contender,” Diaz told reporters after the fight. “I want to fight for the championship. I want to be the champion.”

With a win over a tough opponent like Cerrone, it will be interesting to see what the UFC decides to do with Diaz. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Diaz fight the winner of the Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida matchup set for UFC 145.

Facing the victor of the Maynard vs. Guida bout next might not be a realistic option though; given the fact Diaz likes to keep a relatively busy fight schedule. UFC 145 takes place on Mar. 24, and Diaz will have to wait until mid 2012 to fight the winner. I’m just not sure Diaz will be willing to sit out that long.

One thing’s for sure, with Diaz’ last two performances inside the Octagon, he has certainly earned the right to fight for a shot at the UFC’s lightweight title.

Without a doubt, Diaz is one of the best fighters in the lightweight division, and I’m sure he’ll get to fight for the belt sooner rather than later. Diaz’ main weakness is the past has been his wrestling, but with teammates like Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields, I’m not even sure it’s still a weakness.

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