UFC on Fox 5: Is Nate Diaz championship caliber?

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Long-time UFC contender Nate Diaz finally gets a title shot next Saturday against champ Ben Henderson at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz. Is Nate ready for the spotlight?

UFC Lightweight contender Nate Diaz finally gets his first title shot at next weekend's UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz next Saturday, December 8 at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. The 27-year-old Nate has been fighting for the UFC for five years since winning The Ultimate Fighter season 5 tournament in 2007.

Diaz has bounced between the 155lb class and Welterweight since in his UFC tenure, but is 3-0 in his current run at LW with wins over Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, and Takanori Gomi. At this point few remember his string of 2009/2010 decision losses to Gray Maynard, Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson.

Nate has generally been overshadowed by his older brother, UFC Welterweight contender and former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz, but if he becomes the first of Stockton's Diaz clan to claim UFC gold, that will rapidly change.

Unlike his controversial brother Nick, Nate generally takes care of business in a quiet manner but he did pipe up a few times at last week's UFC on Fox 5 press conference.

With typical humility he responded to questions about his title shot by referencing the Cesar Gracie gym and his teammates, "my whole team has been champions somewhere down the line. Maybe it's my turn to represent for my team."

The team is a bit of a two-edged sword for Nate though as he's also recently stated that he feels no one from his team can win a decision in the UFC due to biased judging.

Nate has certainly shown he's got what it takes to fight and win at the top levels of the UFC, what we don't know is whether or not he's got what it takes to win a title. We'll find that out next Saturday.

If he does win the title, we'll find out if the younger Diaz can emerge from his brother's shadow and become a star in the UFC.

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