Diaz a tall order for Miller

UFC lightweights Nate Diaz (L) and Jim Miller (R) pose with UFC president Dana White at a press...

UFC lightweights Nate Diaz (L) and Jim Miller (R) pose with UFC president Dana White at a press conference at Radio City Music Hall on March 6, 2012 in New York City. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images/AFP)

NEIL SPRINGER, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:24 PM ET

If Nate Diaz challenges for the UFC lightweight title, he would prefer it not be against Frankie Edgar.

Earlier this month, Diaz received his Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under longtime trainer Cesar Gracie. Cesar’s cousin, Renzo Gracie, coaches Edgar.

Though the two aren’t technically teammates, they’re both a part of the extended Gracie MMA family.

“I just met Frankie and he’s a real cool guy,” Diaz said on a recent conference call. “He came down with Ricardo (Almeida) and a bunch of guys. Renzo is Cesar’s cousin, so I’d rather dodge the bullet on fighting Frankie.”

This very situation could materialize in the next few months.

Diaz headlines ‘UFC on FOX 3 In East Rutherford, N.J.’ May 5 against fellow black belt Jim Miller. A win for the Stockton, Calif. native would likely net a title shot. A victory for Miller may not yield the same reward, as he has lost to both Edgar and lightweight champion Benson Henderson, who are set to rematch this summer.

But if Edgar is the only thing standing between Diaz and the championship, he would not turn down the opportunity.

“I don’t know Frankie,” Diaz said. “We’re not best friends or anything.

“But I’d rather fight someone else.”

Though nothing regarding the next No. 1 contender has been officially announced, Diaz said he was told the winner of his fight with Miller would challenge for the strap.

“That’s what I was told was happening,” Diaz said. “Who else would get a title shot?”

The bout has “five-round war” written all over it. With a professional record of 21-3 (12 submissions, 3 TKOs), Miller’s losses have come all via decision. Diaz, 15-7 (10 submissions, 3 TKOs) has only been finished once, an armbar submission loss to Hermes Franca at WEC 24, Oct. 12, 2006.

Of course, styles make matches and both fighters have high finishing percentages.

Miller said he wouldn’t be surprised if the fight goes the distance, but he will do everything in his power to put Diaz away.

“I’m prepared for a 25-minute fight,” Miller said. “I’m capable of doing it and ready to do it if I have to, but of course I’m looking for that impressive sub or knockout finish.

“I’m training to be able to stop him anywhere, whether it be on the feet or on the mat. If I can create the opportunity to lock something up, I’m going to try my damnedest to finish him with it. He’s a tough guy and he’s only been subbed by Hermes and that was years ago. It’s not an easy task.”

In the past, Diaz’s Achilles heel has been wrestling. A former high school and collegiate wrestler, Miller could certainly pose a number of problems once the bout hits the mat.

As far as Miller is concerned, wrestling is only one of the elements he’ll need to defeat Diaz.

“The guys that have been able to beat him have used their wrestling, but I expect him to have gotten better and learned from those defeats just like I’ve learned from my defeats,” Miller said.

“It’s just one aspect of the game and it’s all about how I end up using it. It’s about using everything to beat him, using strikes, wrestling and grappling and fighting where I have advantages.”

Diaz admitted he’s been drilling wrestling diligently for years.

“A lot of it had to do with experience and stuff I had to learn,” Diaz said. “Maybe there was some stuff I knew and should have done, but didn’t do. I’ve been working since then and we’ll see what happens.”

In order for Miller to utilize his wrestling effectively, he’ll need to get inside and mix it up with his striking. This unto itself could prove to be a rather tall order.

Diaz’s boxing has improved tremendously as of late. His last two outings saw him batter talented strikers Takanori Gomi and Donald Cerrone. He also holds a five-inch reach advantage and is four inches taller than Miller. He also thrives at getting opponents to abandon their game plans in favour of brawling.

Miller said he needs to remain composed and avoid getting caught in his opponent’s game.

“If he’s trying to push the pace and use his length, obviously I’m not going to want to let him do that,” Miller said. “There are things that I’m good at, so that’s where I’m going to try and keep the fight.

“I just go out there and fight and not let any of the emotion or outside stuff get involved. I think that’s what happened to Donald, he got caught up in it leading up to the fight and Nate punished him for it.”

NICK DIAZ TAKES ON NEVADA ATHLETIC COMMISSION

As Nate Diaz is preparing to face Jim Miller at UFC on FOX 3 next weekend, his brother Nick is getting ready for a legal battle with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Nick Diaz, acting through his lawyer Ross C. Goodman, filed a lawsuit against the NSAC for alleged violations of statutory law and his constitutional rights to due process.

Following Nick Diaz’s controversial loss to Carlos Condit in February, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion tested positive for marijuana metabolites. He was subsequently suspended by the NSAC.

In essence, the suit aims to quash Diaz’s suspension and prevent the NSAC from holding any further disciplinary hearings on the matter of his failed drug test. It also asks the court to recognize that Diaz’s due process rights have been violated by the NSAC’s failure to schedule a hearing regarding the merits of the disciplinary complaint against him.

Following the Condit bout, Diaz claimed he was retiring from MMA. But in a sworn affidavit, the fighter claims he’s ready to fight immediately:

“On February 7th, 2012, the UFC’s president publicly announced that Mr. Condit agreed to an immediate rematch against me. It is my understanding that the winner of that rematch will be offered a contest against Georges St-Pierre, the current UFC welterweight champion.”


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