Nate Diaz has worked hard to get to where he is. After spending a couple of years fighting for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), he got his shot at the big show, when he entered, as contestant, in Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) reality TV show, "The Ultimate Fighter" (TUF), in the program's fifth season.
Not only did he compete, but the Stockton tough guy and brother of UFC welterweight, Nick Diaz, took down the big prize, defeating Manny Gamburyan in the championship fight.
Since that point in time, Diaz has fluctuated, somewhat, going back and forth between the UFC's welterweight and lightweight division.
In 2011, Diaz seemed to fully hit his stride and finally settle on a weight class, making the move back to 155 pounds and winning three fights in a row, all in devastating fashion.
It was a run good enough to earn him a crack at UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson's belt -- a fight that will take place at UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle, Wa., on Dec. 8, 2012.
In a lot of ways, it's a fight that Diaz has trained his whole life for, and, though he has respect for his opponent, he has no intention of letting the opportunity slip through his hands:
"Ben Henderson is a good opponent. He's had some good fights. I'm pretty pumped up about fighting for a title. It's been a long time. I've been fighting everybody at welterweight and lightweight for some time now. All my training partners and my brother have had my back. Training's been going good. I just got out of boxing camp, so training's never really stopped."
During an interview with Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live," Diaz appeared with his brother, Nick, where he talked about his strategy for victory in his upcoming bout:
"I just gotta go in there and be a better fighter. I've been watching a lot of tape and watching what he does. I just gotta go in there and do the thing -- do it better than him."
Diaz believes that his ever-improving boxing will be a big key in the title bout, and he credits his skills to his world renowned boxing coach, Richard Perez:
"I got a really good boxing coach in Richard Perez. He's trained a lot of really good guys: Dominguez and Rodney Jones and my brother, Nick. He's also been working with a couple other people lately. He's the best boxing coach there is, in boxing. But, he's in the MMA mix right now. Besides that, I'm at Cesar Gracie with Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields and Nick. We've got good kickboxing dudes coming in from all over, so we're trying to train hard."
In "Bendo," Diaz will be facing one the most well-versed opponents he's ever stood across the cage from. Diaz's jiu jitsu skills are usually something he can count on to serve as a marked advantage for him in his fights.
He knows things may be a bit different, this time around, but he's still completely confident in his abilities, should this fight hit the canvas:
"I've seen him in jiu jitsu tournaments, also. So, I've kinda got an idea of what he's got to deal with. But, I train with the best guys in the world. He's really good. I've seen him in gi competitions. He gets out of stuff. He dominates people, real athletic guys. He's definitely the champion for a reason."
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