When Nate Diaz entered the UFC in 2007, he joined the promotion as Nick’s younger brother. At the time, Nick Diaz left the UFC to compete in other organizations while Nate joined the promotion to represent the Diaz name in the UFC. When it was all said and done, Nate Diaz stepped out of the shadow of his older brother and became a superstar himself. With his career in the UFC possibly done, we look back at the top 10 greatest Nate Diaz moments of all time.
After winning the Ultimate Fighter, Nate Diaz finished 3 consecutive fights by submission. One of those submissions came against Kurt Pellegrino in April of 2008. It was in the 2nd round when the fight hit the floor and ended. Diaz locked Pellegrino in a triangle choke, flexed his arms, threw up both his middle fingers and then got Pellegrino to tap. This was a new experience for fight fans watching at home, as no one displayed this kind of charisma before.
When Nate Diaz was a contestant on the Ultimate Fighter, he competed against Gray Maynard in the semifinals of the competition. Diaz submitted Maynard, which secured him a spot in the Ultimate Fighter Finale which he eventually won. Though he defeated Maynard, this was considered an exhibition fight and did not go on Nate’s official record. Maynard and Diaz would compete in a rematch 3 years later, and this time the fight counted towards each fighter’s professional record. Maynard defeated Diaz in a close split decision. The pair would compete in their 3rd fight in November of 2013 which was promoted as a trilogy fight by the UFC, even though they only had one pro fight against each other on their records. Diaz put an emphatic end to the trilogy by finishing Maynard by 1st round knockout.
In June of 2008, Elite XC hosted an event in Honolulu, Hawaii. Nick Diaz defeated Muhsin Corbbrey at the event while KJ Noons defeated Yves Edwards. Diaz and Noons had competed 8 months prior, and their fight was called off by a doctor because of a cut Diaz sustained to the eye. Nick Diaz didn’t feel like he lost the fight and was determined on getting a rematch. After Noons defeated Yves Edwards, Nick Diaz got into the cage and famously told Noons “Don’t be scared homie”. It was after this that a brawl broke out between the Diaz brothers and KJ Noons’ team. The Diaz brothers walked off of the stage with their middle fingers pointed at the sky. This was the first brawl involving the Diaz brothers at a sanctioned event.
Nick Diaz finished PRIDE FC Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title fight in February of 2007. His younger brother Nate Diaz would fight Gomi 4 years later at UFC 135. Just like his brother Nick did, Nate went on to submit Gomi earning himself submission of the night honors.
Nate Diaz has always had a way of walking out of a fight as a winner even in losses. That’s what happened when Diaz fought Leon Edwards in June of 2021. At the time, Edwards was on an 8 fight-winning streak and already had a case for being the next challenger for the Welterweight title. Though Diaz hadn’t fought in nearly 2 years, he asked to fight Edwards. Edwards was in clear control of the fight for 24 minutes, damaging Diaz and running away with a decision. With less than 1 minute left, Diaz slapped Edwards and then rocked him with a left hand. The crowd exploded as Diaz walked Edwards down. Diaz didn’t secure the stoppage, but it was him at the end that walked away from the fight with his hands in the air while Edwards was rocked. As Diaz said at the post-fight press conference, Edwards was “Sleepwalking”.
UFC 141 hosted a mega fight between Alistair Overeem and Brock Lesnar. Anytime Lesnar competed in the Octagon, there was a lot of attention on the card. Nate Diaz was in the co-main event against Donald Cerrone and took advantage of the spotlight. Diaz set a CompuStrike record, landing 82% of his strikes against Cowboy handing him his first loss in the UFC. Cowboy flipped his middle fingers at Diaz during the staredown and Diaz kept his cool and went back to his corner. At the start of the 3rd round, while Cowboy was battered, Diaz started the round by flipping his middle fingers at a dejected Cowboy.
Having a Diaz brother on the Ultimate Fighter is must-see TV and that’s what we saw with Season 5 of the show. Fans got to witness Diaz’s personality on the show and witnessed how dangerous of a fighter he was. Nate finished all 3 fights in the TUF house, then finished Manny Gamburyan in the finals of the show earning himself a UFC contract. He’s the biggest Superstar that has come from the Ultimate Fighter.
Nate Diaz returned from a 3-year absence in 2019 by dominating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. When the fight was over, many expected Diaz to call out Conor McGregor for a trilogy fight. However, Diaz had his own plans and called out Jorge Masvidal who had just set the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history against Ben Askren. Diaz said in his post-fight speech that he was going to defend his belt against Jorge Masvidal to find out who was the baddest mother f*cker in the game. The UFC made a BMF title based on Diaz’s speech and set up a fight between Diaz and Masvidal in November of 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
When Nate Diaz walked into his fight week against Michael Johnson, he had one intention: Dominate Johnson and then call out Conor McGregor in his post-fight speech. At the time, Diaz hadn’t won a fight in over 2 years and was a betting underdog against Johnson. Diaz came into the fight in incredible shape and it showed in the fight. He was switched on from the opening bell and outboxed Johnson for 3 rounds. As soon as Joe Rogan passed him the microphone in his post-fight speech, Diaz passionately called out Conor McGregor “Who was taking everything he worked for”. This took place exactly 7 days after McGregor defeated Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight title. The call out from Diaz was exciting, but no one thought that this fight would actually be a possibility. Then it happened. We discuss that next.
When Nate Diaz called out Conor McGregor after defeating Michael Johnson in December of 2015, no one thought that the fight could actually happen. Nate was a Lightweight and McGregor had just become the Featherweight Champion. After defeating Aldo, McGregor set his eyes on Rafael dos Anjos and the UFC Lightweight title. McGregor was scheduled to challenge for his 2nd UFC title at UFC 196 in March of 2016. However, dos Anjos withdrew from the fight after suffering an injury just 11 days before the fight. The UFC offered both Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo to fight McGregor, but neither accepted. They then called Nate Diaz who was on a vacation in Mexico and offered him the fight.
On just 11 days' notice, Diaz accepted the fight against McGregor at Welterweight. It seemed like winning was impossible for Diaz who was coming in on short notice, without a training camp, fighting the man who just knocked out the pound-for-pound #1 fighter in the world in just 13 seconds. The 1st round was a brawl, which saw McGregor landing damaging blows against Diaz which bloodied him up. It was in the 2nd round where Nate Diaz shook up the world. He started to pressure McGregor and made him begin to fade. He then landed a 1-2 combination that rocked McGregor. McGregor started to drown then shot for a panic takedown against Nate. This was a mistake as Nate took control, took McGregor's back, and then choked him out. Joe Rogan asked Nate Diaz how he felt after the fight to which Nate replied “I’m not surprised mother f*ckers”. This moment made Nate Diaz an icon and catapulted himself into superstardom and the sport into a different dimension.