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What would you like to see next for Nate Diaz and Johny Hendricks following their respective UFC on Fox 3 victories?
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think Diaz and Hendricks need to do what's best for them and not risk the title shots they have coming to them.
Hendricks in particular beat the top two guys in his division; one by twelve second knockout and the other by the skin of his teeth. What reason is there for him to risk losing or having a worse performance? So fans can get excited about the prospect of him blowing millions of potential dollars? Get out of here.
Diaz is more or less in the same boat, only in more shark infested waters. Title shots are hard to come by, and as we've seen with Anthony Pettis that it's hard as hell to pick up momentum at 155 right now.
Both fighters have done more than enough to separate themselves from the pack. There's no need to take unnecessary risks when they've already established themselves as definitive number one contenders.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I'm not in favor of waiting a long time for a title shot, but I certainly understand why guys would want to wait. You can get hurt very easily during training and then what? You're waiting even longer and then you end up having a year in between fights. I think both guys need to fight as soon as possible. I'm totally in favor of booking Nate Diaz vs. Ben Henderson. Frankie Edgar can fight the winner or Anthony Pettis. The old adage is that you can't lose your job to injury, not that you can't lose the next title shot, especially when you can still get your shot at the title.
As for Johny Hendricks, I don't think he's next in line for a title shot regardless of what was hinted at or anything like that. He won a very close split decision against a good fighter, but he didn't do anything that makes you stand up and demand that he get a title shot. I like Hendricks, but he needs to stay busy. I'd put him against the winner of Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Ellenberger at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale on June 1.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Honesty I would like to see Anthony Pettis's suggestion come to pass, where he and Diaz fight it out to see who really deserves the #1 contender spot. If everyone sits and waits the fighters lose money and the fans have to sit and question why these top tier guys aren't being utilized.
Hendricks needs to fight someone since Condit and GSP isnt going to happen for months. How about Hendricks Vs Ellenberger? It would be a good fight between two guys who have equal claim to the next shot and really help sort things out.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Following both Johny Hendricks and Nate Diaz's wins at UFC on Fox 3, I believe both fighters are at the doorstep of a title fight. Diaz is closer than Hendricks, but with both divisions sort of deadlocked at the top (rematch from last fight for lightweight title, interim champ vs real champ for welterweight title) Diaz can afford to wait as an opportunity for the belt could come by the end of the year. Hendricks, not so much. He's in a difficult position as he could lose his opportunity by taking a fight against a lower ranked opponent, but the UFC will be smart about the situations of both fighters.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Both of these fighters are young and at the top of their respective games. I think they both are ready for title shots. If they have the chance to wait for a title shot, I think they must! I hope they are able to take a step back and think about how many times title shots come around. Some of the best fighters never got a title shot. It would be a shame for either of these deserving fighters if they fought someone else and got beat or hurt and could not fight for the belts. If they can afford to wait, then they absolutely should.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
I would have no problem with Nate Diaz taking a longer break before his next fight. He's fought constantly over the last few years, and having already secured a shot at the winner of the Henderson vs. Edgar rematch that takes place this August, why not take a small break. It's unlikely that the winner of the championship fight would be ready to go again before December. That gives Diaz a few months to rest before entering the most important fight camp of his life. If he decides he needs even more time off, the title shot goes to someone else and he falls back in line as the next contender to fight sometime later in 2013. I very much doubt that scenario plays out though, so in my opinion Diaz fights for the title in either Dec 12 or Jan 13.
Hendricks is in a more trickier situation than Diaz. Although he is very deserving of a title shot after his last two victories, he's got other, almost equally deserving competition in Jake Ellenberger and Martin Kampmann. Whoever wins their bout next month also deserves a title fight, so it's a little more difficult to predict what's next for Hendricks over the coming year. This situation isn't helped by the fact that GSP vs. Condit hasn't even been scheduled yet. Yes we anticipate it to happen before the year is out but nothing is confirmed. That means no one is likely to get a title shot until Feb 13 at the earliest, a time when we might even see Nick Diaz back and ready to go. If Diaz is back from retirement and cleared to fight, it's highly likely that he jumps the queue and gets the first crack at GSP or Condit.
It's tempting to give Hendricks the winner of the Ellenberger vs. Kampmann fight in a No. 1 contender bout later this year. However that scenario eliminates one top level fighter yet to face GSP, in a division that he pretty much cleared out before his injury. Let GSP eliminate the contenders before they do the job for him. How about Rory MacDonald as a next opponent? We want to see MacDonald tested by a quality wrestler and Hendricks needs a credible opponent to continue his momentum. Also with MacDonalds inexperience and young age, a possible defeat wouldn't do too much harm to his credibility or title aspirations in a few years. After all losing to Carlos Condit didn't do him too much harm.
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