Nate Diaz has long been a fan favourite inside the Octagon and now seems more popular than ever.
It makes sense that the man who defeated the mega-star that is Conor McGregor should in his own right become a star. Well, in this case the man who defeated McGregor has always been a star but has not always been fully recognised as one.
Nathan Diaz was first introduced to UFC fans on season 5 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ where he competed against fellow lightweights who compete to win themselves a golden ticket into the biggest fighting organisation in the world. Diaz survived the six week reality show and went on to become the winner after beating Manvel Gamburyan in the finale. During filming of the show and his first few fights with the UFC, fans and fellow fighters were seduced by both the attitude toward fighting and how the Californian native fought. A man who could beat you up on the feet and then finish you on the ground, Diaz finished three of his first four promotional outings via submission ( awarded 3 post fight bonuses).
The younger brother of Pride FC, Strikeforce, WEC and UFC veteran Nick Diaz, he too was not afraid to tell it how it was. This made Nate a huge fan favourite all over the world, regardless of the outcome of the fight. He spoke and fought with honesty, something the fans appreciated but not something the UFC always agreed with.
If something was eating at Diaz or something bothered him, you would know. Giving award winning pre fight, post fight and out of competition interviews the information that Diaz would reveal, mostly about fighter pay, would not be received well by promotional brass. Officials may not have always agreed with what he said but if there was one thing that could never be denied, it was his in cage actions.
Diaz (19-10) has finished 16 of his 19 fights, 12 via submission and 4 by KO. Magical performances from the no-nonsense Stockton product have far out weighed his feelings toward the promotion and fellow fighters. The ability to beat his opponent both physically and mentally during fights always ensured fans would tune in to watch. With huge wins over Josh Neer, Kurt Pellegrino, Marcus Davis, Takanori Gomi, Jim Miller, Donald Ceronne, Michael Johnson and most recently at UFC 196 Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz has gone from being a star to a superstar.
Lets get something straight. Nate Diaz has always had the ability to bring fans to the table. He brings eyeballs to the broadcast’s and puts butts in seats. As a promoter this is what you want your fighters to do, fight hard and bring in the numbers. All of which Diaz has been able to do since his days on TUF.
Things for Diaz will only get better thanks to his second round stoppage of Conor McGregor at UFC 196 and the “big money fights” that he seeks are sure to follow thanks to his gutsy performance against the featherweight king.