A future lightweight title challenger could emerge from the ashes of victory following the UFC on Fox 3 event. Or perhaps the sure thing is that we will have another title pretender.

Both Jim Miller and Nate Diaz enter their fight riding incredible highs. Diaz has won two in a row since dropping back to lightweight, including a dominating performance against Donald Cerrone at UFC 141. Diaz was able to batter Cerrone on the feet and left little doubt as to who the better fighter was despite not getting the finish.

Miller was nearing title contention when he squared off against Benson Henderson in August of last year. Henderson thoroughly controlled Miller throughout the contest en route to a unanimous decision victory. Miller bounced back nicely however, with a first-round submission of the always dangerous Melvin Guillard.

Nate Diaz (Heather M Whiting/Heather M Whiting Photography)

The submission earned Miller the Submission of the Night honors and gave him his biggest win to date.

Both men have reached the top of the mountain before, only to be knocked off by embarrassing losses. So while most fans will be wondering who will finally realize their potential, Dana White and Joe Silva will be worried about if either man will be ready for a title shot after the fight.

As with most questions in the world, there’s no black and white answer, just shades of grey.

If Diaz or Miller can put on an impressive performance and secure a finish, they could jump to the head of the pack in the lightweight division. However, a lackluster showing would do little for either man as far as rankings are concerned.

Regardless of who comes out on top, I believe both men are at least one, maybe even two fights away from being a title contender. The most important factor in deciding where Diaz or Miller will rank after the bout, besides their own performances, will be the outcome of the Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida bout.

Should Maynard emerge victorious against Guida, the winner of Diaz-Miller should no doubt challenge the former contender for a future title shot. If Guida pulls off the upset, I could easily see either Diaz or Miller sliding into Maynard’s spot near the top of the rankings.

Like a complicated BCS formula, Diaz and Miller have to wait for other situations to play out, but none will matter if they can’t pull off the victory this Saturday at UFC on Fox 3.

Photo: Jim Miller (Facebook)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.