After an impressive debut in the welterweight division it was expected that Nate Diaz would be keen to continue to try his luck again at 170lbs, but the former TUF winner is already eyeing a return to lightweight.
At UFC 111 on Saturday night Diaz faced Rory Markham who had a day earlier weighed in at 177lbs, six pounds over the limit for the contest. Never one to turn down a fight however Diaz had agreed to let the contest proceed as planned.
In the fight the Stockton native quickly took control despite the notable size difference between the two, using his superior reach to tag his opponent repeatedly.
At 155lbs Diaz pitter-patter strikes often appear to do little real damage, but having moved up a weight-class he suddenly had a little extra sting on his punches and Markham was clearly feeling the effects, and lasted just 2.47mins of the first round before losing via TKO.
Diaz is often a polarizing figure, but in the aftermath of his fight the response to his performance was overwhelmingly positive from both fans and critics.
Despite that he told ufc.com in a post-fight interview that he’s not looking to make the move permanent.
“I’m going to go back to fight at 155 and beat a lot of those guys, but I’ll fight both (divisions) too.”
He went on to explain that though it was he who had first suggested moving to 170lbs after losing to Gray Maynard in his last outing in the octagon it was more down to frustration rather than something he was seriously considering, but others pushed the idea and so it became a reality.
Apparently Diaz still feels he has unfinished business at lightweight though.
“I think I can beat all the guys I’ve lost to. They beat me those nights…good luck, I’m sure they don’t want to fight me again!”
At first I was a little surprised to hear Diaz say this after one of his best performances in the octagon to date, but on reflection it does make sense.
He has now left a calling card in the 170lb division and so can go back to 155lbs safe in the knowledge that he can return their at a later date if things don’t go according to plan.
Also I feel that despite his performance welterweight would still be a tough proposition for the fighter in the longer term with the top end of the division being filled with bigger, stronger fighters who would offer up some serious problems for him.
With BJ Penn set to move up to welterweight at some stage in the near future there could be some interesting times ahead in the upper-half of the lightweight division, and I do believe that Diaz can still make an impact their when he’s on form.
Watch below to see another interview with Diaz taken after the fight with mmafighting’s Ariel Helwani.