The UFC lightweight division is rife with incredibly talented, hungry competitors and, as a result, delivers more barnburners on average than any other weight class. Despite the increasing commonality of instant-classic lightweight battles, the impending contest between Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone promises to deliver a special kind of violence.
Diaz and Cerrone are two scrappers who compete with chips on their shoulders, fighting almost every opponent like they’ve stolen something from them. In addition to sharing a dog-off-the-chain attitude, both Cerrone and Diaz are extremely technically proficient, standing and on the ground. What they lack in wrestling they make up for with two of the slickest, most active guards in the sport, always threatening with sweeps and submissions from their backs. They both have in-your-face striking styles, though Diaz favors a boxing heavy approach, while Cerrone sticks with pretty traditional Muay Thai.
They both come from top-notch camps, with Diaz training out of Cesar Gracie’s academy in California and Cerrone calling the mat at Greg Jackson’s in Albuquerque home. Generally speaking, Diaz and Cerrone are rarely in boring fights, as they both compete for something a little more than just money and fame. When they meet next Friday, their respective attitudes and skill sets will combine to put on one of the most memorable fights of 2011, without a doubt.
“There’s no quit in me,” says Diaz. “I’m trying to kill these people, trying to injure them. They’re trying to do it to me. I’m just trying to go out there and get my job done. … I’m better than all the guys in my division.”
There will be no love lost between these two and no hand shakes until at least after the fight is over; whether it lasts one round or for all three, this will be a battle that you absolutely do not want to miss.
“Nick and Nate, they throw down, they come to fight and… me too,” says Cerrone. “My striking is the best in the division. If he wants to stand, let’s stand. If he wants to go to the ground, let’s go to the ground. I’m just as game as you are. You don’t have to be from Stockton to be tough.”
UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem goes down on Friday, December 30, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada; FightLine will be back on the night with our live, ongoing coverage of the event.
But seriously, don’t miss this fight.