Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
We take a look at what might be next for Stockton's Nate Diaz after his Lightweight Championship loss to Ben Henderson at UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz on Saturday.
On Saturday, Nate Diaz lost to Benson Henderson in what was the most one-sided title fight we've seen at Lightweight since B.J. Penn opened up a portal to a new universe on Diego Sanchez's forehead. The Stockton-born Diaz simply had nothing for Henderson, which was surprising how even the experts had that fight prior to it actually happening.
You can count me as one who bought into the Diaz hype. You could call me notorious for my non-support of Nick Diaz, but Nate has quietly made me a fan over his past few fights. I actually picked Diaz to submit Bendo, with a guillotine, even.
Instead, Diaz came out looking for ... looking to engage Henderson in a sloppy brawl. Henderson responded by putting Diaz on the ground several times, including one point immediately after Diaz was talking trash. He lost as clear a decision as you can lose (Dennis Siver earning a 30-24 over Nam Phan on the very same card notwithstanding) in the UFC.
So what's next for Diaz? Tim Burke over at SB Nation's Bloody Elbow takes a look at the possibilities, and though Diaz is still near the top of the division, finding a suitable opponent is somewhat difficult.
Nate Diaz - He could meet the loser of the Cerrone vs. Pettis matchup, but it doesn't seem that there are a lot of other logical fights for him. I guess he could rematch Gray Maynard, but does anyone want to see that? Is a bout with T.J. Grant worth doing? Perhaps he could meet Eddie Alvarez if he ever signs with the UFC? I think the Maynard rematch is probably most likely.
I'd have to agree that the Maynard rematch is the most likely. Diaz is near the top of the division and until he loses a couple more, he'll continue to get top opponents. However, the dynamic of that fight isn't that interesting, and from an enjoy-ability aspect, the fight with Alvarez might be the best, if he comes to the UFC.
A fight with Grant is definitely a sleeper suggestion, but if he gets past Wiman, then he'll have four-straight wins in the UFC. Those wins would include Shane Roller and Evan Dunham, which would necessitate a big step up for Grant.
The potential submission battle against Grant (or even Wiman) would be exciting stuff, and just the kind of thing Diaz needs to get back on the horse (he certainly has the BJJ chops to tie up one of those guys, though he'll have to work for it).
The options for Diaz are there, you just have to look for them. Still, he's quite a few fights away from contending for the Lightweight title again, after that convincing loss.