Nate Diaz (L) and Johny Hendricks (R) emerged as the big winners from UFC on FOX 3 in Eat Rutherford, New Jersey, on May 5, 2012.
UFC on FOX 3: "Diaz vs. Miller" featured a full card of crazy fights, ridiculous finishes and an overall great result, as Ultimate Fighting Championship made its third foray into mainstream network broadcasting in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sat., May 5, 2012.
The biggest star of the night had to have been headliner Nate Diaz. His second-round submission win over Jim Miller proved that not only has he found his home in the lightweight division, but he should be a very suitable opponent for whoever emerges victorious between Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar, when the two do battle in September.
Johny Hendricks was looking to put on a show against Josh Koscheck and earn the right to be next in line for a welterweight title shot. But while he did get the split decision win, it was a decision that really could have gone either way. For now, it looks like title contention may still be a ways off.
The future has been decided for one man, while the other's crystal ball looks a little hazy. Either way, both are certainly going to enjoy this weekend a bit more, knowing that the months of training they put in have been validated with victory.
After the jump, we'll talk about what's next for the two big winners from UFC on FOX 3, Nate Diaz and Johny Hendricks:
Last night's win made it three in a row for Diaz. He's looked phenomenal as of late, and the fighters he's been taking out are all top guys.
His striking is near the top of the division, his jiu-jitsu may very well be the best at 155-pounds, and he's relatively young and only getting better with each opportunity in the cage.
After the fight, UFC President Dana White announced that Diaz would be taking a break from action, waiting on the results of the Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar showdown (likely to be fought in September) and will take on the winner for the lightweight championship belt.
Not bad for a guy who, just a year ago, had lost two fights in a row and looked like a fish out of water in the welterweight division. He's harnessed his chi and found his "inner Stockton."
I'm hesitant to say he can beat Henderson, but after watching what he's done in his last three fights, I'm also hesitant to say that he can't.
Johny Hendricks is now 8-1 in the UFC. He's won his last four fights, and in so doing, he's beaten two fighters (Koscheck and Jon Fitch), who both contested for the division title against Georges St. Pierre.
So, one could reason that this should make him the new number one contender, right?
Not so fast.
First off, there's currently a dramatic triangular traffic jam at the top of the 170-pound weight class. Georges St. Pierre is the champion, but he's still rehabbing from a knee injury and won't be able to go anytime soon.
Carlos Condit is the interim champion. His next fight should be against to unify the belts (and likely will be), but the whole issue with Nick Diaz (former number one contender) and his status with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) really muddies the waters.
If Diaz was licensed and ready to go, it'd be hard to argue against a rematch between him and Condit. That way St. Pierre can get healthy without hurrying to rush back.
With all of that being considered, the truth is that Hendricks doesn't deserve to be considered a number one contender. Will he get that distinction eventually? Possibly. But his win over Koscheck was not the resume builder he needed and probably not what he wanted, either.
To me, I think the answer couldn't be simpler. Johny Hendricks vs. Rory MacDonald should be booked as soon as possible. The fight couldn't make any more sense. Both guys are being considered the next big deal in the welterweight division. Let them prove it.
I'm looking at you, Joe Silva. Make this happen. You can even take credit for it like it was your idea. I don't need the acclaim. I do this for the love of the game.