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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
The UFC heads to network television for a third time next weekend when UFC on Fox 3 comes live from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Capping off the four-fight main card is the lightweight bout between Jim Miller and Nate Diaz, and it may just provide the UFC with their next UFC Lightweight Title challenger.
At least, that's how Nate Diaz sees things.
"That's what I was told was happening," Diaz said ahead of next week's event (via MMAJunkie.com). "I don't see who else would get a title shot."
There are certainly others in the 155 lb. division who would contest that notion, notably Anthony Pettis, who is the only fighter on the UFC's roster who holds a victory over current Champion Ben Henderson. With Henderson's rematch against Frankie Edgar still not on the docket, there would seem to be more time for that challenger to be determined, but Diaz still feels either he or Miller will be in line after next weekend.
For Diaz, his case would be bolstered by consecutive wins over top names in Donald Cerrone and now Miller should he pick up the win. For Miller, after a submission win over Melvin Guillard in January, a win over Diaz would add another name to his list, and his only career losses remain to top competitors in Henderson, Edgar, and Gray Maynard.
Penick's Analysis: Diaz can believe that all he wants, but I don't think the winner of this fight will be sitting around waiting for a title shot. Henderson and Edgar aren't likely to have their rematch until August, giving plenty of time for the winner of this fight to take one more fight before getting a shot. What would make a ton of sense is to book the winner of this fight against Anthony Pettis when Pettis returns from shoulder surgery this summer. If that fight were to take place close to when the Lightweight Title bout takes place, it will provide a clear number one contender instead of having several fighters with a claim.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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