MMA Power Rankings -- LIGHTWEIGHT
Monday, May 7
Go back six months, and Nate Diaz was nowhere near the top 10 lightweights in MMA. Now, he's the No. 1 contender at 155 pounds in the UFC and plans on waiting out Frankie Edgar/Benson Henderson II for his chance at gold.
How did this happen? Some timely performances, that's how. Not only did he derail a surging Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 while landing a record 260 strikes, but he became the first man to finish the perennial contender Jim Miller -- and he did it on national television. Presto. Nick Diaz's kid brother is now on the cusp of his title shot and riding a three-fight winning. Like a blood-dimmed tide rolling out of Stockton, Calif., he debuts in this week's Power Rankings.
Meanwhile, Miller takes his second loss in three fights and slips some. We know the Whippany, N.J., fighter was battling a kidney infection in his loss to Henderson, but against Diaz, he didn't look like vintage Jim Miller. Maybe it was the pressure of fighting in his home state of New Jersey? More likely, it was Diaz's five-inch reach advantage and slick, aggressive jiu-jitsu that got it done. Diaz has a way of making good fighters look bad.
And in Bellator, two of the world's best 155ers have looked that way of late. Eddie Alvarez made quick work of Shinya Aoki in a revenge fight, and champion Michael Chandler made even quicker work of veteran Akihiro Gono at Bellator 67 (via 56-second TKO). Is there a rematch between the two in the near future? Wouldn't that be fun.