Nate Diaz looks to put himself at the top of the heap in the lightweight division when he meets Jim Miller in the UFC on FOX 3 main event. The fight will be a five rounder near Miller’s backyard in East Rutherford, N.J.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Diaz getting here though. After having mixed success and going 2-2 at welterweight, Diaz has returned to his more natural weight class and has been on an absolute tear back at lightweight, scoring victories over Takanori Gomi and Donald Cerrone.
Diaz believes that his inconsistent performances had to do with a lack of motivation. Back at lightweight, he was fighting the toughest fighters and the biggest names, while at welterweight he was fighting tough guys with less name value.
“I don’t know. I mean, more guys maybe and those were some of them and that was one point in my life I didn’t plan on leaving 170,” Diaz said during the UFC on Fox 3 media conference call. “I left the lightweight contender in the weight division to fight guys nobody knew. When I was fighting at lightweight, I was fighting guys who had big names at lightweight, so that’s why I came back.”
The return to 155 pounds was an easy decision for the 27-year-old, as he got to fight the big name, top ranked fighters once again. While he certainly fought stiff opposition at welterweight, Diaz felt unappreciated there, like he wasn’t taken as serious at 170 pounds.
“I was fighting with guys that didn’t have big names like Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. So it’s kind of rough. I was like, if I’m going to be fighting people with names at lightweight, I might as well go back there and instead of sitting here and jumping all over the place.”
Now, on May 5, Diaz gets his wish when he gets a top lightweight contender in Miller, with a shot at the lightweight title on line. And if the Cesar Gracie black belt shows us that same type of motivation as he did in his last two outings, Miller will be in store for one long, difficult night.