Sports exists as a “give and take” world of sorts. If a promoter, general manager or franchise owner gives an athlete a golden opportunity to make major waves within their league roster, division or other system, that athlete will take the opportunity in an attempt to progress forward into their sport and show the world what they are capable of doing when a monumental chance arises. Some men respond better to the challenge than others, but it holds as a solid truth that none will know how they stack up to their competitors until they start taking those chances.

The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz represents one such person. He has been competing against some of the world’s best for years, alternating between lightweight and welterweight in the process. Although he has attempted to strike it rich in some situations, he has come up short more than once. With losses to former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson sandwiched in between a recent win over Gray Maynard and a 2012 win over Jim Miller, Diaz knew that he would not get his next fight in the UFC lightweight division, long thought of as one of the sport’s top divisions in terms of talent and depth.

Though Diaz called for a rematch with Thomson, a battle with Khabib Nurmagomedov and declared intentions of fighting UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, the UFC put a different set of plans into motion, with Pettis inevitably getting a gig on The Ultimate Fighter 20 and a future tilt with Diaz teammate Gilbert Melendez. This left Nate lobbying for a fight with top welterweight contender Matt Brown, who appears one win away from a crack at UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. UFC President Dana White, however, has said that Nate’s older brother, Nick, who has remained on the sidelines since his UFC 158 loss to former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, could get a tilt with Brown if he wanted the fight.

With Brown slated to headline UFC on Fox 12 in San Jose, Calif., opposite former UFC welterweight title contender Robbie Lawler, both Diaz brothers appear out of the picture completely, at least for now.

Still, all cards are subject to change until further notice in the mixed martial arts realm, meaning that a showdown between “The Immortal” and one of the Diaz brothers can still happen, even if striking Nick’s attention means that Brown would first have to beat Lawler and then defeat Hendricks for the welterweight strap. Nate, on the other hand, would take the fight without hesitation.

But is Nate the Diaz brother fans should hope to see against Brown somewhere down the road? He is definitely a solid fighter, and he brings much to the table in terms of his ground game and striking prowess. Does that make him the likely choice for fans, or does that honor go to Nick? Nick seems to have the upper hand in the eyes of the UFC brass, and it’s quite likely that fans feel the same way. And if they don’t, well, they should.

Let’s consider Nate’s past welterweight run. He originally planned to make his move to 170 pounds against Rory Markham, but Markham missed weight and Diaz ended up defeating the IFL veteran in a 177-pound catchweight bout. Nate’s official welterweight debut came in his next fight against Marcus Davis. After submitting “The Irish Hand Grenade,” Diaz found himself on the receiving end of two fairly one-sided unanimous decision losses, one to Dong Hyun Kim and the other to Rory MacDonald. The rag-dolling at the hands of MacDonald ultimately led Nate back to the lightweight division with a middling 2-2 record as a welterweight.

Could things could prove different if Nate were to face Brown? Absolutely, because if Nate didn’t have confidence in his skill set and his ability to figure Brown out, he would not have asked for Brown in the first place. However, Brown has put everything together so well in his current tear through the welterweight ranks that his own offense, coupled with the fact that he would more than likely enter the fight with a size advantage over Nate, would overwhelm the kid from Stockton.

Would Nick fare any different?

A little over a year removed from his last time inside the Octagon, any other fighter would not last against Brown. Nick, though, is far from any other fighter, past or present. Although Nate and Nick employ the same general offensive style with crisp boxing, effective volume striking and solid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Nick’s striking offense has developed over the years to the point where he can create openings to outbox opponents soundly and not give them much room to breathe. If any man can land the type of shot that would force Brown to backpedal and eventually put his back to the cage, Nick can. And if Brown leaves a small opening for Nick to somehow get to a dominant position, that spells the most trouble for Brown, whose one weakness comes when he gets controlled by a strong grappler.

Still, all of this happens only if Nick returns, and by then, Brown stands to go on to bigger and better fights against fresher competition. His upcoming bout with Lawler notwithstanding, Brown has also been called out repeatedly by fellow rising contender Hector Lombard. There’s also Tyron Woodley, who wishes to stake his claim towards the welterweight strap. There’s the aforementioned MacDonald, as well as Kim, who topped Brown via split decision in 2008.

In short, neither Diaz brother will weigh heavily on the mind of “The Immortal” as he prepares to face what already lies ahead, but never discount the possibility of it coming to fruition. Few thought Nick would ever come back to the UFC after runs in Pride, Strikeforce, Dream and EliteXC, among other organizations, and even fewer thought he would ever fight Georges St-Pierre. Should any fans remain adamant about their desire to see Nick fight Brown, or even about their desire to see Nate fight Brown, they all know that overwhelming fan demand for fights remains the driving force for the UFC’s business, so they can take White on his word that he will consult his matchmakers and make a time and place for Nick to combat Brown if Nick wants the fight.

Up to this point, Brown has never declined a challenger, no matter what the bout meant for him in his pursuit of UFC welterweight gold. Even if beating Nick or Nate did little for his quest to challenge for Hendricks’ title, Brown won’t get selective about his opponents now. In fact, it would be safe to say that given the hot streak Brown rides at this time, he would welcome the chance to battle anyone that is given the opportunity to try and take what he has worked so hard to earn.

In kind terms, Brown won’t be scared, homie.

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.