Former UFC lightweight-turned-welterweight-turned-lightweight Nate Diaz is trying to recapture some of that momentum he had following his graduation from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale back in June 2007.
Diaz won his first five fights inside the Octagon, but has since gone 4-5 while dabbling in the 170-pound weight class. After a three round beatdown at the hands of Rory Markham earlier this year, the temperamental slugger settled back into the lightweight division at UFC 135, punishing Takanori Gomi for his recent struggles.
Back, and as he claims (via ESPN), better than ever. But he'll have to prove it against Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 this Friday night (Dec. 30) in Las Vegas.
"I feel like I'm better than all the guys in my division. I don't see where any of them are better than me. He's definitely a guy that likes to fight and come forward. I think I'm better than him everywhere. On the feet, he better knock me out, if not, he's gonna be in trouble."
Cerrone's response? "Let's go motherf-----r."
"He's got good stand-up, if the fight goes to the ground he's his jiu-jitsu is very good. All that aside? That motherfucker is game. If we bumped into each other out in the parking lot and said what's up, we're throwing down. To me, I like that mentality. You can't teach that, they come to fight, and me too. You don't have to be from Stockton to be tough. Come fight night? Let's go motherfucker."
Cerrone was a member of the class of WEC lightweights that fans and pundits alike wrote off as easy pickins' once they were dumped in the admittedly deeper shark tank in the UFC.
Except he's been eating his competition alive, having won all four of his bouts inside the Octagon while claiming three separate bonus awards during that time.
Will he grab a fourth against Diaz in a bout most are expecting to be "Fight of the Night?"
UFC 141 will take place this Friday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a mega-fight pitting former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar taking on former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Jon Fitch is also booked to return from shoulder surgery against budding welterweight contender Johny Hendricks.
For more on UFC 141: "Lesnar vs. Overeem" click here.