Recently, it seems all the press has been about UFC welterweight Nick Diaz and his recently declared retirement. Despite being a perennial championship contender and a big name in the sport, he declared he was done with the sport and that he was retiring following his loss to Georges St. Pierre. However, Diaz isn’t the only member of his family to reach the upper echelons of mixed martial arts.
Nate Diaz, Nick’s younger brother, is currently the No. 7 Lightweight in the world according to Sherdog and other major MMA organizations. Nate is actually only one fight removed from a Lightweight title match. But after losing to champion Benson Henderson and then dropping a fight to former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, it seems Nate’s flame is dwindling. So, why is it that the press seems to forget how good Nate actually is, and why is it that even in this article about Nate, I started it off with two sentences about Nick?
Nate isn’t quite as loud as his brother. Both guys run their mouths a lot and try to help perpetuate their “thug” image. Keep in mind both guys did grow up Stockton, Calif. and they weren’t exactly surrounded by pretty flowers and great schools, but it seems at times that both guys really try to further their image by their actions and speech. In any case, Nick has been quicker to the mic than his younger brother, and with his recent decision to walk away from the sport, it seems that Nate has been swept under the rug. Nate was suspended and fined by the UFC for homophobic slurs on Twitter following his loss to Thomson, but other than that, he’s been rather quiet coming off his two losses.
Losing to Josh Thomson certainly doesn’t help things for Nate Diaz either. Thomson, a Strikeforce import, is a quality fighter but isn’t a name to casual fight fans and far more people are familiar with Nate than Josh so it definitely stung to drop one to a fighter he was favored to beat. Count that it’s his second loss in a row and that also doesn’t bode well for the younger Diaz. Nate has been quiet, which is probably good news for him, and it appears he’s going to stay that way and let his fighting do the talking which is definitely a good thing.
So, what’s next for Nate? Well, there’s a few options, the best of which is an Anthony Pettis loss to Henderson in their upcoming title fight rematch. If Pettis loses decisively to Henderson, he’ll have to climb the ladder again, and a great place to start would be with Nate.
Pettis is a violent striker and Nate is a quality boxer with a substantial BJJ game. The fight could be seriously entertaining and would give each fighter a chance to notch another high-quality win. The other two options that make the most immediate sense for Diaz would be for him to fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Pat Healy or Rafael dos Anjos, provided he beats Donald Cerrone. Any of those three fighters would allow Nate to fight a fellow top-10 Lightweight and a win against any of them would send him back into the public eye.
Diaz has been flying under the radar. It’s probably a good thing for him to stay out of the public eye, because it seems not much good comes from the Diaz Brothers in the press. However, fight fans shouldn’t forget Nate or dismiss him. He’s still as dangerous as he’s ever been.