Nate Diaz defeated lightweight Jim Miller and earned a title shot with Saturday's UFC on FOX 3 main-event win, but are UFC officials missing a big opportunity?
In our latest installment of The Sunday Junkie – our weekly reader-feedback feature – many believe so. In fact, many submissions all had a common theme: Diaz should fight fellow contender Anthony Pettis rather than sit on the sidelines waiting for his title shot.
This week's winner, Wisconsin's Trevor Greene, narrowly edged Massachusetts' Cody Harnish. They both believe Diaz vs. Pettis is the fight to make.
For his winning entry, Trevor wins a free one-year subscription to "Fighters Only" magazine, the world's leading MMA and lifestyle magazine. He also wins a limited-edition Jim Miller walkout shirt from TapouT, which is donating $10 from every sale to the Daniel James Miller Foundation.
Want to submit to next week's edition of The Sunday Junkie? Scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions.
Also, as a reminder, please be sure to include your hometown and stick within the 150-word limit (and include your submission in the body of an email, not in an attachment). Many quality submissions this week didn't meet those minimum guidelines and couldn't be considered for publication.
(Pictured: Nate Diaz)
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DIAZ VS. PETTIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN
"I'm down for whatever." This is what Nate Diaz said after defeating Jim Miller in convincing fashion at UFC on FOX 3. Even though it has been announced that Diaz will wait for the title shot against the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar, that should not be the case. The UFC should arrange a five-round headliner between Diaz and Anthony Pettis. This fight would be awesome. Diaz has only been finished once in his career (to Hermes Franca nearly six years ago) while Pettis has never been finished. Pettis' powerful kickboxing against Diaz's high-volume boxing would be electric. Diaz would have a ground advantage, but Pettis' underrated jiu-jitsu would be game. Diaz was the first man to finish Miller, a feat Henderson could not accomplish, while Pettis has a win over the current champ. Diaz would have to take a lengthy layoff to get the shot, so make Pettis vs. Diaz happen!
DIAZ VS. PETTIS IS POTENTIAL "FIGHT OF THE YEAR"
I cannot quite grasp the concept of UFC president Dana White granting a title shot for Nate Diaz when clearly there is a potential "Fight of the Year" looming in the mist. Anthony Pettis vs. Diaz could be that fight. Two of the most entertaining fighters in the division who I feel are very evenly matched could possibly be a fight that promotes itself. Diaz did win impressively in his UFC on FOX 3 fight on Saturday, but drop your hands against Benson Henderson, and you just might regret it come the next morning. He's not ready for a shot at the belt. Pettis vs. Diaz in a true No. 1 contender's bout makes sense, and I feel it needs to happen. If Diaz really does wait the extended time it will take to get his shot, that only proves one thing. If you want to be the best, you need to fight the best. White needs to make this fight happen and can if he chooses. As a fan of the UFC and MMA, that is a fight I expect to see.
AS WITH DIAZ, FIGHTERS NEED TO STAY ACTIVE
With Nate Diaz running through the ultra-tough Jim Miller and earning a title shot at UFC on FOX 3, the already-stacked lightweight division has now emerged with its latest contender. However, having him sit out the remainder of the year does neither him nor the UFC any benefits. We have already seen Carlos Condit choose to wait for Georges St-Pierre, leaving the welterweight division in a state of stagnation. Diaz has a few interesting matchups that remain for him, such as Antony Pettis, which would not only be fan friendly, but could also help further cement the top lightweight contender. Staying busy could be just the remedy to help a fighter be as prepared as he can be when its his time to fight for the title.
IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS EASY FOR NATE DIAZ
So as I was watching the Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller fight at UFC on FOX 3, I was taken aback at the lack of wrestling in the game plan of Miller. He shot in neither early nor often against a guy whose weakness is wrestling. Is Miller's wrestling better than Gray Maynard's or even Clay Guida's, two wrestlers Diaz has lost to in the past? Probably not. But I'd say it's good enough. That got me thinking. Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson are great wrestlers, but both have become that wrestler turned striker. So even though both Henderson and Edgar have Diaz's kryptonite, they will fight to Diaz's strength. Nate Diaz's brother, Nick, also historically hasn't done well against wrestlers, and he won and defended the Strikeforce title without ever fighting a contender who had that wrestling kryptonite. What's sad is during Nate Diaz's title run, he will fight guys who have that kryptonite, but they probably won't use it.
UFC SHOULDN'T ANNOUNCE POTENTIAL TITLE FIGHTS FOR JUST ONE FIGHTER
Announcing a fighter will earn a title shot if he wins – but not the other way around – is disrespectful. It's disrespectful because it creates the illusion that one fighter is just a launching pad for another's career. Early this past week, UFC president Dana White announced that both Nate Diaz and Johny Hendricks could be next in line for a shot at the title with a victory at Saturday's UFC on FOX 3 event. Both fighters are on winning streaks and can arguably be No. 1 contenders, but you also have an opponent like Jim Miller who not too long ago was on a seven-fight win streak and considered a top contender. With Miller's and Diaz's resume, I feel that either of them could have been next in line for a championship with a victory. If you are going to announce that, I feel it should be at the post-fight press conference after the fight has been settled.
New Haven, Conn.
PLEASE STOP PROMISING UFC TITLE SHOTS
By promising Nate Diaz and Johny Hendricks title shots after UFC on FOX 3, UFC president Dana White has effectively stalemated the lightweight and welterweight divisions. I understand that White is trying to sell fights as being the most important for each fighter on every event. It seems to me, though, to lack long-term vision. Hendricks most likely will wait some nine months for his title shot when the Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann winner will be left with no true contenders to fight. Now Diaz plans to wait as well, which could sideline him for six-plus months, while Anthony Pettis is looking for a contender to fight. The true fans are getting robbed of great matches because White wants to promote to a few casual fans about the importance of the fights. Any real fans knew the implications long ago.
Glenn "GQuagmire21" Sargent
NATE DIAZ IS HIS OWN DIAZ
In his most recent fight with Jim Miller at UFC on FOX 3, Nate Diaz scored a win, placing him in title contention. Diaz also scored points with fans, as many have been critical of the Diaz brothers' style of pre- and post-fight behavior, as well as in-cage taunting. Although expectedly, the Diaz brand stayed true with some "arms-up" gesturing from Nate in the fight, but fans may have been caught off guard when he hugged Jim Miller after the fight and pointed to Miller's walkout shirt in recognition of the fact that a percentage of the proceeds of those sold will be donated to the Daniel James Miller Foundation in the name of Miller's ill nephew. Diaz had a long list of people to thank after the fight as well, showing that he is gracious, and maybe misunderstood in the shadow of his brother, Nick.
WITH KOSCHECK, HOW MANY WARNINGS ARE SUFFICIENT?
During UFC on FOX 3, we got to see a great bout between Johny Hendricks and Josh "Kos" Koscheck. We also got to see at least nine grabs of the cage by Koscheck (my count), as well as several warnings by the ref. Although most of the grabs didn't directly prevent a takedown (two of them did), all of the grabs assisted Koscheck's positioning, which is clearly helpful. Giving warnings without deducting points trains fighters that there is no consequence for breaking a rule and can, in some instances, lead directly to injury. For a blatant example of unpunished warnings leading to injury, look no further than Koscheck's previous match. Koscheck was told several times to watch his fingers, and sure enough, Pierce wound up on the receiving end of an eye-poke. So how many warnings are enough before a point is deducted? In my opinion one is more than enough.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
PRODUCTION AND PRESENTATION HIT THE MARK AT UFC ON FOX 3
After watching the first two UFC on FOX events, I was disappointed and underwhelmed – not from the fights, but from the overall broadcast. Those feelings have changed after Saturday's UFC on FOX 3 event. Starting with much crisper dialogue during the pre-show and good video introductions, the night was off to a strong start. The first fight started soon into the broadcast and was introduced with tight video showing a glimpse of the personality of the fighters, drawing viewers in. The commentators were solid, and Joe Rogan did a great job explaining moves and positions for people who are new to the sport. There was little downtime between each fight that wasn't filled with either promotions for upcoming events or video for the evening's fighters. The only improvement I feel would help the broadcast would be to give a short highlight package of the preliminary card's fights. This would show condensed exciting action and introduce new fighters to the viewers. Remember, on FOX, it's just not the hardcore fans who are watching.
DISGUSTED BY UFC ON FOX 3'S JERSEY CROWD
After this weekend's UFC on FOX 3 event, one of the more memorable things (not in a good way) was the crowd. I don't know if the New Jerseyans were more rowdy and/or drunk because of Cinco de Mayo, but they quickly booed all but one or two of the fights for very trivial reasons (during ground and pound, battling for position, or even during striking). As an MMA fan, I was disgusted by their behavior. Not every fight was super exciting, but it was far from the UFC's worst card. I understand the UFC holding events in Jersey because they want to capitalize on the fanbase of fighters such as Jim Miller and Frankie Edgar, and because of New York's current MMA-regulation situation, but if Jersey fans can't appreciate the fights and fighters, then I hope the UFC will take their events somewhere more appreciative. There are certainly enough other cities clamoring for a UFC event.
Santa Ana, Calif.
BROCK LESNAR IS DOING MMA NO FAVORS
This past week, Brock Lesnar applied a kimura to Triple H in the WWE. Without taking anything away from what he did while in the UFC, taking moves he learned in MMA over to pro wrestling is not doing MMA any favors. As wrestling is fake, applying a weak, staged kimura to Triple H takes away the legitimacy of how much that submission actually hurts since Triple H was able to stay in the hold for some time. Casual MMA fans who watch WWE will start taking a look at MMA fighters and thinking they aren't that tough when they tap out to a real kimura in seconds. There are plenty of fake moves out there, Brock. You're not in the UFC anymore.
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
A MESSAGE FOR THE LOMBARD-STANN HATERS
Hours before it was officially announced, I read disapproval from numerous posters regarding their disdain for the Hector Lombard vs. Brian Stann matchup. Some argue Lombard should be given an easier matchup. Some argue Stann would be delivered a severe setback if he were to lose. From a business perspective, Lombard has just been given what is perceived to be a lucrative contract, and the UFC has an obligation to protect their investment that is somewhat of and unknown commodity outside of the hardcore crowd. I understand that. From a hardcore-fan perspective, Lombard is one of the higher-touted signings for the company and needs to prove his worth. Bottom line: These are professional fighters. You are expected to win and excel, or lose and fall in to obscurity. The UFC is the cream of the crop. There are no easy fights. Anyone can win on any given night. If Lombard can't hang, so be it. If Stann loses, so be it. The fighters control their own destiny. This is the beauty of the sport.
Tom "stickman141" Driscoll
WELTERWEIGHTS MATCHING DEPTH OF UFC LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION
It is a well-known fact for MMA fans that the lightweight division in the UFC is the deepest, most talented, and competitive division in the whole organization. If you take a good look at the current UFC roster in the welterweight division, you will find it is quickly catching up in depth and talent. A year ago everyone was saying Georges St-Pierre had cleaned out the division, and his only challenge would come from him moving up to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva. Now, all of the sudden, you have the interim champ Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, Martin Kampmann, Rory MacDonald, Siyar Bahadurzada and the reemergence of John Hathaway. If you add names like Thiago Alves, Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez and Che Mills, that adds up to as stacked a division that you will find! I think this lineup can keep GSP's interest for years to come.
Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
FIGHTERS' LEGACIES SHOULDN'T BE TARNISHED BY LATE-CAREER LOSSES
This weekend we saw yet another retirement by a true veteran of the sport at Bellator 67. While Akihiro Gono has never won a major title, he was always a character who helped benefit the sport. Unfortunately, he finished his career with a three-fight losing streak. Gono is not the first, and he is unlikely to be the last. If we look at the last few fights of Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Kazushi Sakuraba's careers, it would appear difficult for those who are new to the MMA to truly appreciate what these men did for the sport. However, MMA is more than just a record (unlike boxing), where personalities shine and fighters are rewarded based on exciting fights and not just victories. As far as I am concerned, Gono's reputation is intact, as he brought a uniqueness which hadn't been seen in the Western world for close to 10 years.
Bangor, Northern Ireland
SILVA VS. JONES AT CATCHWEIGHT MAKES SENSE
This past week's submissions for The Sunday Junkie sparked two talking points that I refuse to acknowledge: Anderson Silva retiring after his upcoming fight with Chael Sonnen, and Jon Jones possibly moving up to heavyweight. Neither of these events needs to occur when a super fight between the two could cement Anderson Silva's place as the best pound-for-pound fighter in history, or legitimize Jones' ability to handle a fighter near his same physical stature and of equal skill. Hell, make it a catchweight so neither belt is on the line. I'd love to see the "Spider" own both belts but wouldn't fault "Bones" for not taking the risk. At the end of the day, I just want to see great fights. What better than Jones vs. Silva? Unless it's Silva vs Georges St-Pierre.