The Incredible Fighting Spirit of Nate Diaz

UFC 279 will probably mark the last time we see Nate Diaz inside the Octagon. His fight with Swedish behemoth Khamzat Chimaev on 10th September marks the last fight on his UFC contract and he has publicly stated that he won’t be signing a new deal with the world’s number one MMA organization. Online bookmakers such as PointsBet, which provides betting and free offers on UFC matchups, have made the Stockton, California native a huge underdog for that pay-per-view clash, but that won’t bother him one bit. His departure will be felt mostly by the fans, as well as in the company’s coffers. Dana White probably doesn’t mind too much however, it’s one less headache for him to worry about and one less question to answer in press conferences. 

The reason why Diaz is such a headache is because he is one legit dude. He is genuinely about that life and at this point it’s unquestionable. White has stated on numerous occasions that the reason he has struggled to book fights for the self-proclaimed West Coast Gangster is that he demands outlandish opponents, such as current UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis N’Gannou. But it isn’t just The Predator that Diaz has called out, if you take a look through his recent fights, you’ll see he’s fought a murderer’s row of opponents. 

Calling out Conor McGregor 

Back in late 2015, Conor McGregor was on top of the world. He had just knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds to unify the UFC Featherweight Championship, and a star had well and truly been born. One man who wasn’t particularly impressed was Nathan Diaz. After a clinical performance against Michael Johnson the following weekend, Diaz proceeded to call out the Notorious one in a profanity-ladened interview, claiming that the Irishman had taken everything he had worked for. 

Fast forward three months and Rafael Dos Anjos was pulling out of his Lightweight title defense against McGregor, with Diaz called up as a last-minute replacement. The buildup to the fight was the stuff of fantasies, with the pair trading barbs back and forth. But as others had crumbled under the weight of McGregor’s pre-match antics, Diaz wasn’t phased in the slightest. And that transmitted through on fight night. 

He stood up to everything Conor McGregor threw at him, eating it all and still coming back for more. Then, when the Notorious started to fade towards the end of the second round, Diaz began to pour it on, eventually stopping his rival with a rear naked choke. He would proclaim post-fight that he “wasn’t surprised.” The rest of the world most definitely was. 

Beating Anthony Pettis and calling out Jorge Masvidal 

McGregor would of course go on to get his revenge five months later, scraping a razor-thin mixed decision victory, and Diaz would remain inactive for the following three years. During that layoff, he repeatedly stated that he would only fight with legit fighters, and on August 17th, 2019, he would get his wish when he faced off with former Lightweight champ Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis. Diaz would win that fight in an absolute war, and he would then call out the one man that perhaps everyone in the welterweight division was scared of, Jorge Masvidal. 

Gamebred had been on a tear that year, knocking out Darren Till in the UK and then starching Ben Askren with a flying knee inside five seconds. But Diaz wasn’t phased. He respected the Florida native, claiming that there were no real fighters left except “me and him” and, despite going on to lose that fight thanks to a doctor’s stoppage, no one could question the cojones on Nathan Diaz. 

The upcoming fight with Khamzat 

Three years on from that defeat, Diaz is back up to his old tricks. If there is one man that is feared more than anyone else in the Welterweight division—outside of champion Kamaru Usman—it’s up-and-coming Swede Khamzat Chimaev. The Chechnya-born mauler has run through everyone he has faced thus far and his record stands at 11-0. So who would Diaz choose for his farewell fight? Naturally the toughest opponent he could find. 

There can be no denying that Nate Diaz is most definitely about that life. Whether that is enough for him to shock the world on September 10th however, remains to be seen. 

Severe MMA Staff