Nate Diaz Aiming to Cement Family’s MMA Legacy at UFC 241
Nate Diaz makes his eagerly awaited return to mixed-martial-arts action during August, aiming to cement his legacy as one of the best fighters ever seen in the UFC.
The 34-year-old hasn’t fought for three years, but he will aim to come back with a bang in his welterweight contest against Anthony Pettis at UFC 241.
Diaz’s last fight was against Conor McGregor in August 2016, a classic match-up that the Irishman won by a majority decision.
McGregor was gaining his revenge after being beaten by Diaz in the second round of their clash during March of the same year.
With his brother, Nick reportedly retired, Nate will undoubtedly be eager to uphold the honour of the Diaz family name against Pettis.
The pair are widely viewed as pioneers of MMA, although it is fair to say that their respective careers have had their controversial moments. Read on as we look at some key Diaz talking points.
Nate still bitter at the UFC
Both Diaz brothers have had their disagreements with the UFC in the past and Nate remains outspoken about his treatment by the company.
He deservedly won the first fight against McGregor at UFC 196 and is adamant that he was robbed in their second meeting.
However, despite many people calling for a third bout, Diaz says the UFC’s favouritism towards McGregor has left him feeling bitter.
“You’re giving this guy the world, and you’re putting me down,” Diaz told ESPN. “That’s why I haven’t been fighting. Why am I gonna work for you if you guys are over here playing me?
“So three years went by and they start expecting I’m gonna start screaming for Conor as soon as he loses? Nah, dude, I won that last fight.
“I’ll fight Khabib (Nurmagomedov). Then Khabib is playing like I have to win something to get to him. I’m like ‘what are you talking about, dude’? You got to win to get to me. I slapped you.”
Diaz famously brawled with Nurmagomedov and his team at an event back in 2015 and he has made it clear he dislikes the Russian star.
Diaz duo and UFC jump on the CBD bandwagon
Both Nick and Nate are well known for their links to cannabis, with both profiting financially from the industry.
Nick has been suspended three times in Nevada marijuana use, while Nate sparked a major row by vaping CBD in his post-fight press conference after the second McGregor bout.
Many top athletes use the product as a recovery aid and there has been plenty of research backing CBD oil for pain relief conducted by respected academic institutions.
With the legislation changing regarding its use, it hasn’t taken long for the UFC to join Nick and Nate in jumping on the CBD bandwagon.
In May 2019, the organisation signed a “multi-year, multi-million dollar, global partnership” with Aurora Cannabis – a Canadian-based firm specialising in the manufacture of cannabidiol products.
The deal will see further clinical research conducted on the relationship between 100% hemp derived CBD products and athlete wellness and recovery.
“Since the day we opened the Performance Institute, our primary goal was to offer UFC athletes the best possible training, nutrition, and recovery services,” said UFC President Dana White.
“This partnership with Aurora is an extension of that goal, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Aurora to find new ways to improve the health and safety of athletes who compete in UFC.”
A frosty relationship with authority
Nick has had a troubled history with drug testers, with his 2015 ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission unquestionably the most controversial.
He failed his post-fight drug test for marijuana metabolites after being beaten by Anderson Silva at UFC 183 and was subsequently banned for five years and fined $165,000.
He appealed the decision, resulting in both the fine and suspension being reduced to 18 months and $100,000 respectively.
He was also hit with a one-year sanction in April 2018 for failing to report his whereabouts to USADA on three occasions.
Nate has also had his run-ins with the authorities aside from the controversy he caused by using the vape pen in public.
He was suspended for 90 days and fined $20,000 in May 2013 for violating the UFC’s code of conduct by using a homophobic slur on his Twitter page.
Diaz had blasted Bryan Caraway for receiving Pat Healy’s “Submission of the Night” bonus after he had tested positive for marijuana.
Leaving a legacy
Having made his professional debut in 2001, Nick can rightly argue to have done more than his fair share to help the UFC become a worldwide phenomenon.
His ongoing rivalry with Georges St-Pierre created many major talking points and their 2013 meeting left many fans desperate to see a rematch.
Nick’s spat with McGregor was the highlight of 2016 and a third match between the two fighters would be widely welcomed in UFC circles.
UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, is a huge fan of the pair and he believes that they don’t necessarily get the respect their efforts in the sport deserve.
“One of the reasons why Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor was so big is because people love Nate Diaz too,” Rogan said.
“It’s not just Conor McGregor. No disrespect to Eddie Alvarez, but when Conor McGregor fought Eddie Alvarez, the vast majority of the eyes were on Conor McGregor.
When Conor McGregor fights Nate Diaz, you’re looking at a lot of people who love Nate Diaz. I think those guys are superstars – I think the UFC doesn’t know.”
A victory for Nate on August 17 would certainly go a long way to proving Rogan’s point, although Pettis may have something to say about that.
Regardless of the result, it cannot be denied that both Diaz brothers will have left a lasting legacy on the UFC when their time with the sport is done.