UFC color commentator Joe Rogan has suggested Nick Diaz‘s ability to throw immense volume throughout an entire fight changed the game in MMA.
Diaz is set to make his return to action this weekend at UFC 266. Having not fought since his loss (later turned to a no contest) to Anderson Silva in 2015, the Stockton native’s main card clash with Robbie Lawler will be his first appearance in over six years.
While Lawler achieved welterweight title success in 2014, Diaz hasn’t had his hand raised since a 2011 victory over BJ Penn. Despite being on a four-fight losing skid, many believe “Ruthless” will have the edge come Saturday night simply because of his increased activity, which has seen him fight eight times since Diaz last entered the Octagon.
While a tough task lies ahead of him at UFC 266, the success Diaz has achieved throughout his career, which has seen him compete in five-round battles against Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Carlos Condit, is undeniable. According to Joe Rogan, the 38-year-old changed the game in MMA.
During an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, the stand-up comedian, podcast host, and fight enthusiast suggested that Diaz’s incredible cardio brought a new level of striking intensity to the Octagon.
“Nick Diaz changed the game in terms of his elite cardio. He did something that was a new thing and that new thing was, he’s not gonna hit you with 100 percent power, he’s gonna hit you with 50 percent. But he’s gonna hit you twice as much, and you’re never going to get to breathe, and he’s gonna stay on top of you, and he’s gonna talk to you the whole time.
“Psychologically, he’s going to disrupt your breathing by constantly hitting you, and once he realizes you’re hurt, then he’s digging to the body, then he’s putting it on you. On top of that, black belt jiu-jitsu skills, really good wrestling takedown defense, chin made of iron, and unstoppable will,” Rogan said (h/t MMA Junkie).
Discussing how Nick and Nate Diaz have built such great conditioning, Rogan added that both men’s history completing triathlons had to have been a contributing factor.
“Those guys (Diaz brothers) do a lot of triathlons. That’s one of the reasons why they’re so durable. That’s why they’re always in insane shape. They don’t get tired like everybody else gets tired. They have insane endurance.”
Despite admitting that he’s never actually enjoyed fighting, Diaz has chosen to make his return to action and will do so on a stacked pay-per-view set for Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on September 25.
Alongside Diaz’s clash with Lawler, the main card will also see two championship fights. First, dominant flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko will look to make her sixth successful title defense when she meets in-form veteran Lauren Murphy in the co-main event. In the headliner, TUF 29 coaches UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski and top contender Brian Ortega will finally settle their differences inside the Octagon.
Do you agree with Joe Rogan? Did Nick Diaz’s cardio change the game in MMA?