Two years ago, if you told me that Nate Diaz would be getting praised as a hero, I probably would have asked if he stopped a crime.
I said it once and I will say it again — MMA is a crazy sport. Take this week for instance. Ronda Rousey has turned into a villain, and Diaz has turned into the hero of the lightweight class. Diaz beat Gray Maynard at the Ultimate Fighter Finale in extremely impressive fashion. The interview that followed was one of the weirdest, yet unmistakably greatest things that I have ever witnessed.
Diaz ducked every question that Jon Anik threw his way so he could show off his corner men, stating that he and Gilbert Melendez both run the lightweight division, and called out Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson. I forgot to mention that both of those guys already beat Diaz. It was insane for him to do that — one could even make the argument that it was stupid.
In reality though, it was genuine. Fight fans love a fighter that is completely honest. If you were beat up, tell the fans you were beat up. If you want to fight someone, do not cover it up by saying that you will wait and see — call that other fighter out. Not once in Diaz’s post-fight speech did he say anything that I did not completely believe. Yes, he did call out two fighters who beat him, but Diaz would fight them again.
Maybe Diaz was turned into a hero because the night contained a couple of lackluster fights and he absolutely rushed his opponent. The main event was supposed to be a great fight, and everyone wanted Diaz to show that he progressed as a fighter. Diaz got into the Octagon, got immediately angry, and took it out on Maynard. It was gorgeous, it was genuine and the fans will not soon forget about it.