Nate Diaz drills Jim Miller in the face during UFC on FOX 3 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
In the main event of UFC on Fox 3, Lightweights Jim Miller and Nate Diaz met in a much anticipated fight. After two rounds of surprisingly one sided action, Nate Diaz walked away the victor, defeating Miller via guillotine choke in round 2. Diaz is now on a 3 fight win streak and undefeated since returning to Lightweight last year. Miller drops to 21-4 and has lost 2 of his last 3 fights.
Heading into this fight there were a lot of questions about how it would play out. Would the two decorated submission specialists engage on the ground? Or would Diaz rely on his unique boxing style and keep the fight standing? As it turned out, it was Diaz who dictated the pace of the fight, taking Miller apart on the feet, then finishing him on the ground. What looked like a close battle on paper turned into a brilliant, dominating performance from Diaz. The controversial fighter earned his shot at the UFC Lightweight title with this win.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Diaz's choke was fantastic, brutal stuff. But for me the highlight was the moment in round 2 when Nate got comfortable and started clowning Miller. I know many are not fans of those moments, but it's consistently my favorite part of Diaz brothers' fights because you know it means they are in the zone. And when Nate and Nick are in the zone, they are among the best boxers in MMA today.
Where do these guys go from here?
At the post-fight press conference, Dana White confirmed what he suggested last week - Nate Diaz will indeed be the next challenger for the UFC Lightweight title. He'll have to wait for the Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson rematch this fall, but once that is done, Nate will be up. Either potential opponent will provide a fascinating match-up, though I suspect Diaz has a better shot against Edgar than Henderson.
Jim Miller is in a rough spot. After putting together a terrific run in the Lightweight division, he's now 1-2 in his last 3 and far outside the title picture. It seems quite possible that he's now locked into a gatekeeper to the title kind of role, which is a tough place to be. The top of the division is pretty busy at the moment, so he may need to wait and see how things shake out before setting up his next fight. If Gray Maynard defeats Clay Guida, Guida vs. Miller seems to make sense.
Watch it now, later or never?
Now. Between this and the Donald Cerrone fight, Nate Diaz has proven that he belongs among the Lightweight elite. This is a great showing and a highly entertaining fight. Check it out now.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC on Fox 3 in the full entry.