In a fight sports activities world the place the traces between actual and faux are disappearing, UFC famous person Nate Diaz is likely one of the final true warriors left — and the followers love him.
Nate Diaz broke nearly each legislation of self-promotion at Friday’s UFC 263 press convention, however that’s precisely why the welterweight is likely one of the greatest stars in fight sports activities and the final of a dying breed.
Diaz was hidden off to the facet, shrouded in shadows and smoke from the joint he lit up midway by means of the presser, and barely answered questions, content material to let middleweights Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori, who conflict in Sunday’s (AEST) essential occasion, take centre stage with their forwards and backwards bickering.
And but Diaz, who returns from an 18-month hiatus to tackle Englishman Leon “Rocky” Edwards, stole the present in his personal surly, rough-hewed, completely genuine and undeniably charismatic method.
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“I’m pumped to fight a worthy opponent, that’s what I’m here for,” Diaz mentioned.
“It’s love everywhere I go, I love the support, I love the whole s— man, this is great. This is great these guys are doing their thing … real fights, that’s cool. Every fight is going to be the baddest motherf—er you’ve ever seen.”
The quotes aren’t dynamite, however when Diaz says them they work. It was his title the gang chanted earlier than and afterwards, he’s the one who has completed the rounds on ESPN and the opposite main media shops this week. He’s the star of this present, the most important title on the town.
In a fight sports activities market that’s more and more dominated by the likes of the Paul brothers, for whom life is an prolonged YouTube vlog with the traces between what’s actual and what’s not so blurred they might nicely not exist, Diaz is a welcome salve.
Diaz doesn’t jockey for likes, subscribers and followers and has no real interest in promotion, which is exactly why he’s so good at it regardless of not having any of the standard features used to spice up a fighter’s profile.
The Stockton native isn’t eloquent and quick-witted, like his everlasting foe Conor McGregor, preferring blunt-force insults that all the time come again to how he, really, “doesn’t give a f—.”
His fights are by no means boring, however there’s loads of entertaining fighters and few of them attain Diaz’s degree of star energy.
He doesn’t boast an undefeated file, having gone 20-12 over his profession and he doesn’t combat usually, with solely two bouts within the 5 years since his two thrilling clashes with McGregor, nor has he held a UFC title.
However what Diaz does have is authenticity and a scarcity of posturing that’s turn into so uncommon in a enterprise dominated by manufactured pictures. It’s the essential tenet of being cool — he acts like he doesn’t want your consideration, solely it’s not an act.
He acts the identical method now, with the identical angle, as one of many sport’s greatest stars as he did again when he first got here into the UFC in 2007, and he stored that very same vibe by means of preventing continuously in locations like Omaha, Nebraska or Oklahoma Metropolis, removed from the brilliant lights that now shine on him.
Nothing about Diaz has modified since he beat McGregor in March of 2016 — it simply confirmed the sporting world what they’d been lacking.
Diaz is a heavy outsider in opposition to Edwards, who’s wrestling-based fashion and measurement have been anathema to Diaz prior to now. However that once more is a part of Diaz’s appeal.
Edwards is a nightmare for the elite welterweights — he’s among the finest on the earth, however his low profile makes the risk-reward of dealing with him a prospect many attempt to keep away from.
However not Diaz. The dimensions of the problem is why he wished it.
In Diaz’s world, a fighter solely loses when he’s stopped and Edwards (18-2) has by no means been overwhelmed inside the gap, which is why Diaz wished him within the first place.
A fighter’s file shouldn’t be protected and mollycoddled — this recreation, as Diaz is so fond of claiming, needs to be kill or be killed.
Maybe Diaz might be stomped into the bottom for 5 rounds by Edwards on Sunday, or perhaps he finds a technique to get the upset. Both method, he’ll be again as a result of he’s the actual factor.