All eyes are on the outcome of the Nate Diaz (15-7, MMA) vs Jim Miller (21-3, MMA) fight headlining UFC on Fox 3 at the IZOD Center in New Jersey on May 5th. Though it has yet to be announced, most MMA fans have assumed that this fight will determine who will get the shot at the lightweight title next.
Even Diaz said, “I’m expecting a title shot if I win, that’s what I was told.”
This fight could easily become a grappling match, where both BJJ black belts are able to wage war on each other. But it could also surprise us and become a stand-up battle with Diaz trying to avoid Miller taking him down.
When Heidi Fang of MMA Fight Corner asked Nate in today’s pre-fight conference call about the striking he put on display in UFC 141 when he defeated Donald Cerrone, Diaz responded how much he thinks his striking has developed. “I do a lot of pro sparring and I’ve got a pretty good boxing coach. Cerrone was in there throwing punches at me so that’s what happened. It’s all about what you’re dealing with,” he said.
For Miller, what gives him the upperhand over Diaz is his wrestling. Though Miller also sees the upside of that, he said that’s not the only way he can beat Diaz. “My wrestling might give me an advantage. The guys who’ve been able to beat him have used their wrestling, but I expect him to get better. It’s just one aspect of the game and it’s all about how I end up using it. You’ve got to use everything and fight where I have advantages. It’s gonna be a tough fight,” he stated.
Though neither fighter is in any way looking past this fight, Heidi asked Diaz his take on fighting Frankie Edgar if circumstances ever brought that to fruition. Diaz said, “I met Frankie and he’s a really cool guy. I’d rather dodge a bullet on fighting Frankie but we’re not best friends or anything. I’d rather fight someone else.”
Diaz has trained with Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu throughout his career; and Edgar has trained with Ricardo Almeida Jiu Jitsu. Ricardo Almeida trained with, earned his black belt from, and was an assistant instructor with Renzo Gracie before opening his own academy in New Jersey. Renzo and Cesar are cousins.
At any rate when Diaz vs Miller goes down, we can all hope that the winner will get the opportunity to get a shot at the winner of the Henderson-Edgar fight.