After flirting with a possible move to welterweight, Nate Diaz will remain in the UFC’s 155 pound weight class, in an important redemption fight at the Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale on Nov. 30. Diaz will square off against someone he’s very familiar with in Gray Maynard. Diaz defeated “The Bully” by submission in the semifinal of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, but lost the rematch against Maynard via decision at UFC Fight Night 20.
While their initial Ultimate Fighter matchup doesn’t count as an official one in an MMA career, it is essentially now the rubber match between the two well established fighters who have both had failed bids to win the lightweight title during their careers. Maynard had a draw against Frankie Edgar in their sensational first title affair but was stopped by Edgar in the subsequent rematch. Diaz also came up short in his title opportunity as he was soundly beaten by Benson Henderson via a lopsided five round decision at UFC on Fox 5.
There will be plenty on the line for both competitors after disappointing performances in their last bouts. Diaz was put away via punches for the first time in his career, as he was stopped in the second round by Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 7. It was his second straight loss. Maynard was brutalized in one round by T.J. Grant at UFC 160 in their matchup to determine the number one lightweight contender. With both fighters accustomed to being in the top 10, rankings neither can afford to suffer another setback in the talent-rich lightweight division.
The fight is an intriguing one; Diaz has the clear submission skills advantage and tends to be more active in the standup game, while the stockier Maynard possesses the greater power. With the history these two fighters have, you can bet there will be a very high intensity level for this one. With the past experience both have had with the Ultimate Fighter, and factoring in the importance of the bout, it’s a very solid addition to the TUF 18 season finale card.