It’s hard to deny that Nate Diaz is a superstar in combat sports today.
Having competed in the UFC since 2007, Diaz has built up a massive fanbase during his career through his bad-boy attitude and his exciting fighting style that has made him one of the most popular fighters today.
The 36-year-old faces Leon Edwards at UFC 263 this weekend in an exciting welterweight clash in Glendale, Arizona. The fight will be contested over five rounds despite not being a title fight, main, or co-main event. Given Diaz’s popularity with the fight community, his fight with Edwards may be the most anticipated, even more than the championship title fights.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Diaz expressed that he believes that his popular cult following comes from the fact that he does not bow down to any norm in the fight game but beats to his own drum instead.
“Because nobody is doing anything with their sh*t in this whole career,” Diaz said when asked about his popularity. “Everyone is doing what they should be and doing what they’re told, and they’re acting like motherf*ckers who have jobs. This fight career is not a job. It’s not like going into it with the mentality that sh*t do what you want, fight everybody, and do-whatever-the-f*ck-you-want attitude. That’s all I’m thinking, I don’t know.”
Diaz went on to explain that fans like him because of who he represents and his loyalty to his team. His war-like attitude every camp whether he’s fighting or his teammate is a reason why everyone tunes in.
“I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu, I’ve been training with Cezar Gracie my whole career, and that’s the realest fight team anyone can come from,” Diaz said. “We have a long history, and I stick by it, and it’s war at all times. If any of my team is going to war, I’m going to war. If I’m going to war, my team is going to war. That’s why everyone is tuning in to fight. …
“And like I said, (other fighters) do what they’re told. They act a certain way, the way they’re supposed to act, or talk the way they’re supposed to talk, or think the way they’re supposed to think, but I think that’s what keeps everyone attracted to the realness and the fight game. That’s what my whole team is, and it’s not going anywhere.”
His upcoming fight is a major fight in the welterweight division and will drastically determine who will go on to fight the champion or certainly someone inside the top five of the division. His opponent Leon Edwards is currently on an eight-fight winning streak and is ranked #3 in the division.
If Diaz is victorious come Saturday night, the Stockton native has many options on who he may fight next. Whether it be the champion Kamaru Usman, a rematch with Jorge Masvidal, or a trilogy bout with Conor McGregor. Diaz says that he is focused on the task at hand for the time being but is keeping open-minded after the fight.
“All those sound great, and they’re all options, but every single day I got new motivation, so we’ll see what happens after the fight,” Diaz said.
Do you agree that Nate Diaz is one of the biggest names in combat sports?