On this day in 1983, Nicholas Robert Diaz was born… incidentally, Happy Birthday Nick! Less than 2 years later, his brother, Nathan Donald Diaz was born. Both of these men have (most of) the MMA world at their feet, so lets take a walk down memory lane…
To understand the Diaz brothers, you have to delve into their childhood years and more specifically Nick’s.
Diaz has always been a fighter, in one form or another. During High School, Nick would get involved in multiple fights. According to Nick, his teacher would often tell the other students that Nick was on “meds” and would often not take them, leading to further bullying from other students.
As a result of the fights and consistently moving around schools, Nick was far behind the other students and was already training to be a professional fighter.
Before Nick’s first professional fight, tragedy further struck. The girl that Nick had been dating was involved in a fatal accident, involving a car. This girl apparently committed suicide by walking onto the freeway in front of traffic.
The tragedy deeply affected Diaz, who ran seven miles (and back) to her grave just to promise he would “make it” as a fighter like she knew he would.
Nick’s path paved the way for Nate to start training. The younger Diaz would follow his brother to Jiu Jitsu training, not because he was passionate (yet) about the sport, but more for food purposes.
If he went to Jiu Jitsu the older boys would buy the Diaz’s burritos for dinner. As the brothers “didn’t have shit” (Nate’s words), the boys would often go hungry unless they went to training. Before Nate “knew it” he was a blue belt.
When Nate was 15, Nick had a video out named “Choke”, Nate would sit up at night watching. This would motivate the younger Diaz to train or go for a run.
Nick began his career with a win by Triangle choke (Nick states that he was thinking of his lost love). After that, Nick was given his first title shot, which he of course won. After a few more fights, 2 losses and 5 wins, Diaz was booked to defend the title he won in his second fight as well as potentially winning two more titles (and in the process attempt to avenge one of the losses on his record).
Diaz would secure a first round TKO and would be signed by the UFC. Diaz fought for the UFC ten times (including a KO of Robbie Lawler) before departing.
He would fight for Pride FC (Pride will never die!), EliteXC and Dream before finding a more permanent home in Strikeforce. While there, he would become their champion and defend 3 times before returning to the UFC. Nick’s run in the UFC has been mired in controversy, failed drugs tests, bans, retirements and no showing press conferences. Diaz has been involved in them, but his popularity has remained.
Like his brother, Nate started his career with a win and got a title shot early. Unfortunately, he was a little “green” and lost. From there though, Nate’s career would change as he would appear on “The Ultimate Fighter” season five.
Nate would go on to win the season and has not left the UFC since. Nate (like his brother) has fought a who’s who. From Rory MacDonald to Donald Cerrone, he is never one to back down from a fight.
Recently, Nate’s career trajectory has centred around one man, Conor McGregor. After Diaz defeated Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox – dos Anjos vs Cerrone, Nate added his name to the list of people calling out McGregor.
Eventually, dos Anjos was given the responsibility of fighting “Notorious”, luckily for Nate, dos Anjos pulled out injured. Diaz stepped in and the rest is history.
For me, both men have had many defining moments in their careers
- The rarely seen Gogoplata submission that Nick locked on Takanori Gomi
- The “Stockton Slap” that Nick landed on Carlos Condit (along with him saying “quit running” and I like to think he threw in a “bitch” afterwards)
- The “Stockton Slap” that Nate landed on Conor and the subsequent choke.
- “I’m not surprised motherfuckers”
I could of course go on, such is the vastness of their careers. For me, though the best moments are what sums them both up… for Nick, screaming “where you at Georges” knowing Georges St Pierre was in attendance after he beat B.J. Penn…
For Nate it’s when he locked in the triangle choke against Kurt Pellegrino, celebrated by “flipping the bird”, flexing his muscles and then gets the tap.
What are your favourite Diaz moments or is the best yet to come?