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  • 01-19-2010, 02:12 AM
    M1S3N3R

    Nate Diaz headed to welterweight, could meet Rory Markham at UFC 111

    Nate Diaz headed to welterweight, could meet Rory Markham at UFC 111 | MMAjunkie.com

    It didn't take long for Nate Diaz to get the phone call.

    The Stockton, Calif.-based Diaz (11-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) is expected to make his welterweight debut at UFC 111, where he could meet Rory Markham (16-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at the March 27 show, a source close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com).

    Although a few options are being discussed, Diaz vs. Markham is considered a frontrunner of the possible matchups.

    Last week, Diaz told MMAjunkie.com he wanted to try his hand at both the welterweight and lightweight division after struggling with the year-round demands of making 155 pounds. Now, it appears he's gotten his wish.

    UFC 111 is set for the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the second time the promotion has staked its tent in The Garden State.

    Diaz, 24, appeared exactly one week ago at UFC Fight Night 20, where he lost a split decision to Gray Maynard in the main event of the Spike TV broadcast. He issued a video blog days after the fight to show the lack of damage to his face and had no reservations blasting the judges' decision.

    The fiery lightweight said the cut to lightweight was wearing him thin.

    "I could have been more explosive if I felt better," Diaz said this past Tuesday. "But I think that was probably his best day, and that was pretty much the worst I could have felt."

    Diaz said he would balloon to around 190 pounds after the fight but said moving to welterweight would not necessarily make him a bigger fighter.

    Still, Diaz has lost three of his past four fights in the 155-pound class and looks to rebuild as a welterweight.

    Markham, 27, was on track to face Martin Kampmann at UFC 108 mere weeks ago but strained his Achilles tendon and withdrew from the fight. Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts' Jacob Volkmann took his spot on the Jan. 2 card.

    The former International Fight League standout most recently appeared at UFC 95, where he lost by knockout to now-contender Dan Hardy. The loss snapped a two-fight win streak, which was punctuated by a highlight-reel head kick KO of Brodie Farber at UFC Fight Night 14 that won Markham a "Knockout of the Night" bonus.

    With all but one of the spots on the UFC 111 main card set, and with Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch expected to take the final spot, Diaz vs. Markham is likely destined for the UFC 111 un-aired preliminary card.

    The latest UFC 111 card now includes:

    MAIN CARD

    * Champ Georges St-Pierre vs. Dan Hardy (for welterweight title)
    * Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir (for interim heavyweight title)
    * Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch*
    * Martin Kampmann vs. Ben Saunders
    * Mark Bocek vs. Jim Miller

    PRELIMINARY CARD

    * Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown*
    * Thomas Drwal vs. Rousimar Palhares*
    * Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham*
    * Fabricio Camoes vs. Kurt Pellegrino*
    * Ricardo Funch vs. Matthew Riddle
    * Jared Hamman vs. Rodney Wallace

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