MMA Power Rankings -- LIGHTWEIGHT
Monday, May 16
In the course of 10 days, people went from discounting Nate Diaz's chances against Jim Miller and treating Donald Cerrone as an afterthought to openly discussing a rematch between the two. Why? Both Diaz and Cerrone won in dominant fashion. Cerrone's three-round thrashing of a tough Jeremy Stephens reintroduced him to the top 10 of the division. Better yet, "Cowboy" was able to speak up about some things that have been bothering him when given that winner's platform, and the first thing out of his mouth was a polite request for a Diaz rematch. Preferably, he said, in Denver on Sept. 1.
It's hard to fault Cerrone's reasoning here. The Diaz fight was his fifth in 2011, and when he says "it wasn't me" out there, you tend to believe him. Diaz is installed as the No. 1 contender right now, awaiting the winner of Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson, which happens in August. It might have to take some coaxing to arrange yet another title eliminator with Diaz -- the same Diaz who landed 260 strikes against Cerrone the first time through -- given those circumstances. Then again, stranger things have happened.
Hovering also in that rarified space is Anthony Pettis, who could make a claim for a title eliminator himself. And on June 22, Gray Maynard and Clay Guida will fight, with the winner of that one jumping into the conversation as well. Through all of this, there's Eddie Alvarez, the one-time Bellator champion who looks destined for the UFC. Come fall, he might be the new kid on the block, and one of these aforementioned guys will welcome him to Zuffa. The 155-pound division remains the deepest in the sport.