Nate Diaz appears to have solidified his position as No. 1 contender to the UFC lightweight title.
UFC President Dana White announced Saturday following UFC on Fox 3 that Diaz (Pictured, file photo) will next face the winner of the Benson Henderson-Frankie Edgar championship rematch expected to take place in August or September. White broke the news after Diaz’s masterful headlining performance against Jim Miller at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
The first moments of the main event were competitive, as Miller landed leg kicks and closed the distance, attacking with elbows and knees from the clinch. Diaz was unfazed by the New Jersey native’s early offense and began to find a home for his jab as the round wore on, eventually attacking with a sharp one-two which briefly dropped Miller to the canvas.
“I never know how the fight is going to go. I just train hard and try to prepare for everything. I expect the worst,” Diaz told Fox Sports after the bout. “I put the work in, man. I’ve got the best team in the world, so I just went out there and fought how I trained.”
The highly regarded Miller managed little offense in the second frame, as Diaz kept the hometown favorite on the end of his massive reach. When Miller was able to close the distance, Diaz attacked effectively from the clinch.
“Nate controlled the fight from bell to bell,” Miller said at the post-fight press conference. “He controlled the momentum and never let me get any significant shots in there. He fought a beautiful fight and had my number.”
As Miller shot for a takedown in the bout’s final sequence, Diaz quickly secured his opponent’s neck and locked up a one-handed guillotine choke. The Cesar Gracie pupil managed to adjust his grip, roll the AMA Fight Club representative onto his back and force Miller to submit for the first time in his career.
“He kind of grabbed on me a little bit, and I just got [the guillotine] in there. [How I did it] is top secret,” said Diaz. “He’s tough, and it was [scheduled for] five rounds. It was going to be him or me, so I’m glad it went the way it did. I guess I got lucky. I guess it was my time to shine.”
As for his impending title shot, Diaz is eager to take some time off and then challenge for the gold.
“I would like to get Ben Henderson. Let’s speed up the process a little bit and make that title fight happen.” said Diaz. “I don’t care what happens to me, man. I just need a break. I want to sit down for a minute. I’ll be back training tomorrow, and I’ll be ready to fight next week. But when the fight [is over], after I trained for three months, I’m f---ing burned out. I’ve been going hard for the last seven years.
“I think I [might] slow things down right now and kind of take a little break. I’m not saying I’m going to wait out some long, drawn-out s---; I’ll fight anybody, whenever. But maybe I need a little sit-back session right now. I’m going to talk to my people and let them talk about it. I’m just going to wait it out and see what happens.”