The UFC was probably hoping that once Frankie Edgar got past his rubber match with Gray Maynard the UFC lightweight division’s logjam of contenders would clear up. Such has not been the case.
Edgar was recently deposed in a very close and controversial fight by Benson Henderson; following his own close title fights against BJ Penn and Maynard, Edgar was made to give both men immediate rematches, so there is a strong case for the former champ to get the first shot at the new champ. Then there’s Anthony Pettis, who supposedly earned a UFC title shot when he beat Henderson for the WEC title back in 2010 and rekindled those talks after spectacularly knocking out Joe Lauzon at UFC 144.
Finally, top 155ers Nate Diaz and Jim Miller are fighting this May at the top of the UFC on FOX 3 fight card and both of them feel the winner of their fight can also make a legitimate claim to the title.
“You know, Nate and I have proved that we’re top guys in this division,” said Miller. “I personally don’t feel that Pettis’ win over Stephens and then the knockout over Lauzon is a title run, but I don’t make those decisions. So, other than the possible rematch, I think Nate is probably the only guy you could put in right away. But, we’re scheduled to fight in May, so, I’m sure that either of us hopes that a win will put us in that top position.”
Though less verbose, Diaz made his stance on the issue clear.
“I thought the winner of this fight was gonna get a title shot, but we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Further confusing the matter was UFC president Dana White who, despite tentatively declaring Pettis the number one contender after UFC 144, said that the Diaz-Miller winner would get the shot if Edgar can be persuaded to drop to featherweight.
“Well, I’m obviously still dealing with the whole Frankie Edgar thing — I’d like him to go to 145, that whole thing. I’m talking to Frankie and we’ll figure this thing out,” White said, before adding, “Well, we did say the winner of this fight would get the shot.”
UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller is to take place on May 5 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.