Two-time UFC title challenger Nick Diaz is set to make his acting debut in an upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer.
Diaz won titles under the banners of Strikeforce, WEC, and IFC prior to challenging for gold inside the Octagon. Currently, the Stockton native appears to be gearing up for another comeback, having fallen short against Robbie Lawler in 2021 in what was his first bout since 2015.
But as well as keeping one foot in the cage, and a firm presence in martial arts through teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Diaz has become the latest fighter to spread their wings into the film industry.
The 39-year-old is slated to appear in Darkness of Man, a neo-noir thriller that sees renowned movie star Van Damme play an Interpol operative looking to protect the son of a deceased informant from merciless gangs.
Diaz’s part in the movie was revealed in an Instagram post by Matt Staudt, who co-founded Game Up Nutrition alongside Nick and Nate Diaz. Staudt detailed some of Diaz’s role, noting that he aptly featured in a “badass fight scene” that he helped choreograph.
“Get ready for a new, gritty and dark crime story set in LA starring @jcvd and features @nickdiaz209 who killed it,” Staudt wrote. “Nick also has a badass fight scene in the film 👊 When it got to rehearsing the fight he took over and of course had better ideas than the film’s stunt coordinator which is what ended up being filmed and looked awesome.”
The caption came alongside an image showing Diaz on set, seemingly filming a scene.
Van Damme Influenced Diaz’s Career
For Diaz, his debut in the film industry hasn’t marked his first time interacting with Van Damme. The pair have been seen training together in the past, with the Belgian actor boasting a keen interest in martial arts.
Prior to finding stardom on screen, Van Damme competed in kickboxing, amassing an 18-1 record. “JCBD” also won gold at the Belgium Karate Lightweight Championships in 1979 and the Belgium Karate team European Championships two years later.
That passion certainly remained prevalent in Van Damme’s films, many of which feature fighting action. Diaz even credits two of them for inspiring him to pursue a career in the cage.
“Bloodsport, yeah, and Kickboxer got me into fighting,” Diaz said in an interview with Dr. Beau Hightower.
Bloodsport, one of Van Damme’s first starrers in 1998, follows a United States Army captain and ninjitsu practitioner who competes in an underground, full-contact martial arts tournament called the Kumite in Hong Kong.
Kickboxer, meanwhile, was released a year later and centers on an individual who must “learn the ancient kickboxing art of Muay Thai in order to avenge his brother.”
It seems fans may well have those pictures to thank for Diaz’s lengthy and memorable career in mixed martial arts.
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