Everyone’s favorite fighter out of Stockton, California, is taking on Jake Paul in what is expected to be a blockbuster boxing fight. While boxing picks and odds peg Nate Diaz as the underdog, don’t tell that to his fans. Despite never being more than a .500 fighter, Diaz still holds one of the most rabid followings. Thank his antics for that as the 38-year-old embodies why fans love combat sports.
Top Four Nate Diaz Moments
‘I’m Not Surprised’
It was on UFC 196 when Nate Diaz filled in for Rafael dos Anjos on two-week notice to fight the UFC’s biggest star: Conor McGregor. Despite his popularity, folks quickly bet online against Diaz and made him a 3-1 underdog heading to the bout.
Diaz entered the fight and was lit up by McGregor. After five minutes, Diaz was battered and bloodied. But things quickly changed in Round 2 as McGregor faded. Diaz capitalized, hurt McGregor, then submitted him much to the delight of the raucous Las Vegas crowd.
Not only did Diaz turn the Las Vegas odds on its head, he punctuated it with one of the most iconic post-fight quotes:
On March 5, 2016, Diaz was reborn a superstar. This fight sold 1.35 million Pay-Per-Views and the rematch a few months later became the UFC’s highest-selling PPV with 1.65 million buys.
Diaz Calls Out McGregor
The highly lucrative McGregor-Diaz rivalry took off mainly because of Diaz. Following his win over Michael Johnson, Diaz ignored Joe Rogan’s post-fight question and called out McGregor in a profanity-laced rant. It made both UFC and boxing news given Diaz did it on FOX.
But prior to the interview, Diaz also took out Johnson as an underdog. Johnson had won four of his last five fights and his only defeat was a controversial split decision. Hence, Diaz entered the fight again as a 3-1 underdog.
And once again, Diaz made those betting online for him plenty of returns. Just like the McGregor fight, Diaz rallied after losing the first round. He took Johnson’s best punches then outstruck for the next 10 minutes as he secured what would have been his ticket to a bout with McGregor.
The Stockton Slap Heard Around the World
How big of a star is Nate Diaz? Even in a fight where he gets his butt kicked for nearly 25 minutes, he walks away like he’s won. That’s what happened when he took on Leon Edwards, who is now the UFC champion. In this bout, Diaz was nearly a 4-1 underdog. And for most of the five rounds, Edwards schooled Diaz.
The Brit was on his way to a clear-cut decision when Diaz rocked Edwards with a punch late in the fifth round. The punch had Edwards dizzy and instead of rallying to finish his opponent, Diaz laughed and pointed at him.
Nate Diaz wobbles Leon Edwards
Glendale, Arizona (2021) pic.twitter.com/l4iZXnh6RZ
— Fight Pics That Go Hard (@fightpicsgohard) May 14, 2022
While bettors facepalmed at Diaz’s antics, this moment is what everyone remembers from this fight. Yes, Diaz lost a wide decision. But the fact that he came within a punch of finishing the future UFC champ will be a feather — albeit a questionable one — on his cap.
Diaz Creates The ‘BMF’ Title
Justin Gaethje just fought Dustin Poirier to capture the ‘BMF’ title. But everyone knows who the inaugural title holder of this belt is. Nate Diaz made first mention of this “belt” following his victory over Anthony Pettis. This was Diaz’s first fight in three years. He lost to McGregor in a rematch in 2016.
But Diaz returned with a vengeance and handily beat Pettis, the former lightweight champion. Following the fight, Diaz said he’d “defend his belt” against another gangster: Jorge Masvidal.
The UFC then made a physical version of Diaz’s ‘BMF’ title, which the two fought over to headline UFC 244 in Madision Square Garden. UFC and boxing predictions were mostly split here and Diaz put up a fight. Only a cut and a doctor stoppage ceased the bout prematurely.