Why Nate Diaz is one of the most frustrating fighters in the UFC

Nate Diaz
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Nate Diaz interacts with media during the UFC 244 Ultimate Media Day on October 31, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

We all like watching Nate Diaz fight. He’s game, always brings it, provides interesting and funny pre-fight antics and can turn it on when it really matters. The Ultimate Fighter Season five winner and younger brother of former Strikeforce champion, Nick Diaz has stepped up in the past and provided us with some huge PPV numbers. Of note, he’s headlined three PPV cards, UFC 196, UFC 202 and UFC 244. He often has long lay off’s from competition, however, and certainly views himself in much higher esteem than his ability may suggest.

Notable Performances

There has been a whole host of notable Nate Diaz performances over the many years he’s been in the UFC. Handing Conor McGregor his first UFC loss back at UFC 196 was easily the biggest win of his career. When the featherweight champion looked unbeatable, Diaz choked him out. In the rematch he made McGregor work hard for the victory, taking him the full five rounds at UFC 202.

He headlined UFC 244 against Jorge Masvidal in what proved to be a very one-sided fight in Masvidal’s favour. Out worked, outboxed, outkicked and out grappled, Masvidal earned a doctors stoppage victory at the end of the third round. It turned out to be a very lacklustre, disappointing performance by Nate Diaz for the BMF title.

In a memorable performance, Diaz returned after over a year out at the backend of 2015, squaring off against Michael Johnson, then a top contender at 155lbs. He dominated Johnson and got the unanimous decision victory. The post-fight speech is what got him ‘the money fight’ with McGregor. He certainly wouldn’t have got the opportunity if the performance didn’t warrant it.

Interview with Helwani

Recently, Nate Diaz sat down with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani to discuss what’s next for the Stockton native. He claimed that he is eyeing a top contender next, either uncrowned lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier or #1 contender, Charles Oliveira. The only caveat, Diaz wants these fights at either welterweight or 165lbs. A weight than neither man has previously competed at.

He also claimed ‘I’m trying to fight the guys who are winning‘. Simply put, he doesn’t deserve to fight either Poirier or Olivera. Both of these men have put in regular, impressive performances, against top contenders and in fights that make sense. Diaz has won just three fights since 2014, losing three in the same time.

Neither Poirier or Oliveira have ever fought at welterweight, yet Diaz wants them to move up in weight to accommodate him. He’s unranked at either 155lbs or 170lbs (rightfully so) so a ‘top contender’ fight doesn’t make sense. Fight a ranked guy, a Robbie Lawler fight makes sense and has a narrative behind it (Nick Diaz had a war with Lawler back at UFC 47. If he wants to drop back down to 155lbs, fight Al Iaquinta in what would be a fun fight all round. Diaz needs to fight some contenders, get some wins together and then start calling out top contenders. Make a fair run at the title, beat top contenders and prove that you’re one of the best in either division.

You can catch the full Helwani interview here:

Welterweight Lifeline

Nate Diaz was handed a lifeline at welterweight this week. Unfortunately for fans, Khamzat Chimaev‘s fight with Leon Edwards was yet again cancelled due to long-lasting COVID complications. It is Chimaev who has pulled out and Edwards is looking for a new opponent. He called out Nate Diaz, in a fight Diaz really should have entertained.

It’s true what Edwards says. Diaz did talk about wanting a winner at 170lbs. Edwards ticks that box, currently riding an eight-fight winning run. Diaz wanted to fight top guys. Edwards ticks this box too, arguably unlucky not to have competed for the belt yet and ranked #3 at 170lbs. If Diaz really wanted to fight top guys, he would have accepted the Edwards fight and looked to catapult himself into the top five of the welterweight division.

Instead, he played on the fact that Edwards isn’t that big of a name, dropping a meme and quoting former foe, Conor McGregor.

Why Diaz is so frustrating is because he’s been called out by a ranked winner but has seemingly ignored the callout. Ask and you shall receive, well he asked, he received but he declined. What else can you do?

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