At the UFC 263 press conference yesterday, fans showed just how popular Nate Diaz remains, even though it’s been a while since we saw the man representing the ‘209’ step inside the octagon.
The Stockton native hasn’t fought in over 18 months; his last fight was a loss to ‘Gamebred’ Jorge Masvidal in 2019, which ended prematurely via doctor stoppage after the third round. The pair were competing for the ceremonial ‘BMF’ belt, a title created by Diaz himself, perhaps showing how much sway the Californian has in the UFC.
Not many UFC fighters can stay off the radar for so long and still be able to draw massive attention from fight fans, but then again, not many fighters are Nate Diaz: the man responsible for crushing the Conor McGregor aura in 2016. As the weed-smoking vegan southpaw prepares for a tough test against Leon Edwards at UFC 263 tomorrow, let’s look at three defining characteristics of Diaz’s fighting style.
Also read: Where is UFC superstar Nate Diaz from?
#3 Nate Diaz’s brashness
In only his third UFC fight – all the way back in 2008 – Diaz fought lightweight contender Kurt Pellegrino. ‘The Stockton Slugger’ defeated Pellegrino via triangle-choke submission in the second round. The infamous moment arrived when Diaz had the choke fully locked in with his legs, and he used his arms to flex for the crowd and threw up some middle fingers before Pellegrino submitted.
It is this kind of brashness that has made Diaz a cult UFC icon.
The Californian regularly uses the palm of his hand to attack his opponents, afterwards showing them they’ve just received what’s known as a ‘Stockton slap.’
Although Diaz has a professional MMA record of 20-12, his belief in himself has never faltered; he has gone into every one of those 32 fights with supreme confidence.
#2 Nate Diaz’s pressure
Whether he is winning or losing the fight, Nate Diaz comes towards his opponents with seemingly relentless pressure. The southpaw has been fighting since he was 11 years old, and his conditioning is second-to-none in the UFC. His cardio will allow him to fight for hours.
While many of the punches he throws will not land, it is the sheer amount of attacks that Diaz forces his opponents to defend that makes him so dangerous inside the octagon. His deadliest weapon is the never-ending threat of strikes, and as lactic acid builds up in his opponent’s body, these strikes land more and more.
#1 Nate Diaz’s durability
There are fighters that can take a punch, and then there’s Nate Diaz. Although the Stockton native has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, he is very much a street-fighter by nature. Perhaps this is the reason he can take so much punishment and seem unfazed.
Conor McGregor can personally testify to this durability. The Irishman had caught Diaz several times with that phenomenal left hand when they met in 2016, a punch that would knock most fighters out. As the rounds progressed in the rematch, it was a bloodied Nate Diaz who grew into the fight and was unlucky not to have a stoppage close to the end.