Both headlining fighters on this Saturday's TUF 18 Finale card in Las Vegas are coming off of devastating knockout losses in their last fights. Two time title challenger Gray Maynard was stopped by TJ Grant last May and Nate Diaz was knocked out by Josh Thomson just one fight after he had lost a UFC lightweight title contest.
Diaz is confident that he'll soon fight for UFC gold again. Maynard says he's just excited to get back into the Octagon.
"I'm just pumped to get back in there," he recently said during a UFC interview.
Maynard and Diaz have fought each other twice before. The first time was an exhibition fight on TUF 5.
Diaz won that fight by guillotine choke. The pair fought once more in 2010 and Maynard won that fight by split decision.
Diaz has always maintained that he deserved to get the nod in that bout. Maynard himself knows about the motivating power of losses.
"Losses hurt," he said.
"You just kind of hold onto them and you can't dwell on it a lot but you've got to kind of hold onto that pain because it kind of helps you prepare for the next one. Try to erase the loss."
"The Bully" was a stand out college wrestler but hopes that his punching power will make the difference against Diaz Saturday.
"He can take a punch. I can give a punch. He's going to take a lot of my punches," he said.
"Now it's time for me to end this trilogy with a spectacular knockout."
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