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UFC 141 Results: Nate Diaz Progressed Against Donald Cerrone, But Can He Compete With The Division's Best?

If there's any kind of negative to take from Nate Diaz' big, dominating victory of Donald Cerrone on Friday at UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, it's Nate's potential future in the lightweight division. By beating Cerrone, Diaz shot himself up the ladders into relevance, while eliminating a potential title contender (for now) in Cerrone, but while the strong elements of his win may give him hope against the division's elite, the negatives are a strong reminder that he has a long way to go.

Though it's unclear just how many of the times Diaz fell down as part of his gameplan to try and lure Cerrone to the ground, he took an awful lot of leg kicks and definitely hit the ground because of them. As part of his volume punching strategy, he also tired himself out later in the fight. He was able to maintain said punching throughout, but his balance was certainly off. An entirely gassed and battered Cerrone was able to land kicks from start to finish.

Part of that is Diaz' tendency to trust in his chin and forsake defense altogether, but another part of that was fatigue. Either way, could you imagine Diaz leaving his lower body so exposed against this iteration of, say, Gray Maynard? Diaz would sure be dumped on his back, much like Dong Hyun Kim did to him. And what of his inability to put Cerrone away? What happens if he takes on Frankie Edgar? We've seen it a couple times now - Edgar coming back from a volume beating.

That all being said, Diaz has improved leaps and bounds in each of his last two fights. His striking looked amazing against Takanori Gomi, and against Cerrone at UFC 141, he put on the best performance of his career ... again. Maybe he will be ready for the division's best after another fight against a high level opponent.