The 411 MMA Top 10 12.02.13: Top 10 Nate Diaz Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 12.02.2013
From his war with Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 and his knockout of Gray Maynard this past weekend to his battle with Kurt Pellegrino at Fight Night 13 and more, 411's Alex Rella counts the Top 10 Nate Diaz fights of all time!
Top Ten Nate Diaz Fights
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at the ten best Nate Diaz fights. Diaz (17-9) has been with the UFC since he won TUF season 5. A number one contender in the UFC and WEC, Diaz has become one of the best lightweights in the world today. This list is based on the usual criteria: fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my opinion mixed in.
• VS Junior Assunção UFN 11- Won in the first round via guillotine choke.
• VS Alvin Robinson UFN 12- Won in the first round via triangle choke.
• VS Clay Guida UFC 94- Lost via split decision.
10: VS Josh Neer UFN 15
Josh Neer has had a solid career going 33-13-1 including three stints in the UFC. During this time he picked up wins over other above average fighters like Melvin Guillard, Joe Stevenson, Mac Danzig, and Duane Ludwig. This fight with Nate Diaz would take place during his second run with the company. The two would have a close three round battle in the main event of UFN 15, the first time Diaz would main event a UFC show (now up to six shows). Diaz would win by split decision and earn Fight of the Night honors for his fifth win in a row in the UFC.
9: VS Rory Markham UFC 111
After Nate's disappointing and controversial loss to Gray Maynard at UFC Fight Night, Diaz decided to move up to welterweight for a few fights. His reasoning was that he wasn't getting paid enough to cut down to 155 lbs. His first opponent was Rory Markham, a karate specialist coming out of Miletich Fighting Systems. Markham came in heavy at 177 lbs, but one of my all time favorite knockouts was when he knocked Brody Farber unconscious with a head kick at UFN 14. Diaz just outboxed the kenpo champion and eventually dropped Markham with a knee to the face. Diaz took his back, but was unable to lock in a rear naked choke. So instead he just started laying in punches until the ref stopped it in the middle of the first round. This was Markham's last MMA fight as he has since moved onto stunt work and acting.
8: VS Manny Gamburyan TUF 5 Finale
The Ultimate Fighter season 5 was arguably the most stacked season of all time. It had a bunch of fighters who are still with the UFC today like Cole Miller, Matt Wiman, Joe Lauzon, Gray Maynard, and Manny Gamburyan who Nate Diaz took on in the finals. Both members of Team Pulver, Diaz defeated Maynard and Gamburyan defeated Lauzon in the semifinals. Gamburyan took the first round and was winning the second one too before he dislocated shoulder on a takedown attempt. Diaz capitalized on it and started to rain down punches forcing Gamburyan to tap out. Not the most dominant performance, but a huge win considering it happened at a time when winning TUF was still a huge accomplishment.
7: VS Gray Maynard TUF 18 Finale
The end of a trilogy nobody really wanted to see, but we got it anyway and luckily it wasn't as bad as their second fight. The fight did make sense though as both men are former number one contenders that needed a win to stay relevant. Diaz had lost two fights in a row and Maynard was 1-2-1 in his last four fights. I expected Diaz to win by decision, but he just owned Maynard. He usually beats guys standing up by using his reach and with the volume of punches that he throws, but he rocked Maynard early and good. Diaz picked up Knockout of the Night in a much needed win.
6:VS Kurt Pellegrino UFN 13
Nate Diaz came out of TUF season five on a hot streak. He picked up two first round Submission of the Night victories and called for better competition. The UFC threw him up against Kurt Pellegrino, a tough lightweight that competed in the UFC from 2006-11. Pellegrino took an unexciting first round, but this fight gets a top spot for the finish. In the second round, Pellegrino had Diaz in the air and was going to attempt a slam. Unfortunately for him, Diaz had limbs wrapped around him by the time they hit the mat. Diaz flexed and gave the finger even before he tapped. A defining moment in his career regardless of if you love him or hate him.
5: VS Marcus Davis UFC 118
Diaz took on Marcus Davis in his second fight at welterweight. Davis, a former boxer that competed on TUF season 2 and fought in the UFC from 2006-11. The two had a fun standup battle that was close in the beginning, but Diaz came away with towards the end of the second round. He effectively used his reach advantage to just pick him apart. Diaz took down the bloody Davis towards the end of the third round and locked in a guillotine choke. Davis was left unconscious as both men won Fight of the Night.
4: VS Tankanori Gomi UFC 135
Diaz only went 2-2 at welterweight and lost his last two fights which made it clear he couldn't beat top level fighters at 170 lbs. He made his return to 155 lbs at UFC 135 when he took on former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi. Gomi got off to a rough start in the UFC only going 1-2 in his first three fights. This one wasn't any easier as Diaz didn't let him do much of anything. Diaz was in top form using his reach, boxing, and throwing in some taunts for good measure. The fight eventually went to the ground where Diaz went for a triangle choke, but Gomi was able to slam out of it. So Diaz just transitioned to a really nice armbar as Gomi tapped immediately. A dominant win over a former legend as Diaz returned to the lightweight division.
3: VS Melvin Guillard UFN 19
Nate Diaz was in need of a win when he took on Melvin Guillard in 2009. Diaz lost two fights in a row, both were Fight of the Night performances but a third loss always puts your job in jeopardy. Guillard on the other hand was on a three fight winning streak. The Diaz brothers have great chins, but Guillard is one of the best strikers in the division and he showed it in this fight. Guillard dropped Diaz only seconds into the fight with a big right hand, but he backed off as he had no intentions of going to the ground with Diaz. Diaz was able to trip Guillard and bring him to the ground, but Guillard was able to get back up and get in plenty of big shots that left Diaz bloody. Guillard was winning the second round too with some dominant striking, but then he went for a takedown for some reason and got caught in a modified guillotine choke. Diaz won Submission of the Night and showed great perseverance as he was able to take a huge beating and still comeback.
2: VS Jim Miller UFC on Fox 3
This was a huge fight for Nate Diaz. Not only was this a main event fight on national television, but it was also a number one contender fight. Diaz looked great since he moved back down to lightweight and his opponent was longtime top lightweight Jim Miller. A lot of people were torn on how this fight would go down since the two are high level grapplers. Diaz just neutralized Miller with his boxing and dropped him towards the end of the first round, but Miller was able to survive. They were fighting in the clinch in the second round when Miller went for a takedown. Diaz stuffed it and locked in a nice guillotine choke for the win. This was the first time Jim Miller had been finished. Diaz won Submission of the Night and went on to challenge Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title in his next fight.
1: VS Donald Cerrone UFC 141
This was one of those few occasions where it really was impossible for the fight to suck. Two of the most exciting fighters today battled in the co-main event of UFC 141. Donald Cerrone was looking to pick up his seventh win in a row and fifth of 2011. Diaz was looking to pick up his second win since returning to the lightweight division. Diaz was as good as ever in this fight landing 82% of his strikes. He dominated the first round, but Cerrone was able to battle back in the last two to make things competitive and interesting. Cerrone used leg and head kicks to bring him down to the ground. Unfortunately, he never followed up with it though and always let Diaz get back up to his feet. I know Diaz is amazing on the ground, but Cerrone is pretty good there too and he should have taken his chances since he was losing the fight standing up anyway. Diaz would win by unanimous decision in the Fight of the Night.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Next week will be the ten best current TUF alumni.