Nate Diaz vs Michael Johnson, UFC on Fox 17, 19 December 2015
Fight of the Night
Finally! The Diaz brothers are back in the cage! With Nick Diaz out serving a 5 year ban for illegal substance use, his brother Nate Diaz steps into the cage for the first time since December 2014. With his signature attitude, his crisp and technical boxing, and his dangerous jiujitsu game, it is always a fight fans treat to watch Nate at work.
Coming into the fight, Nate expressed his excitement for this fight given that he finally has an opponent who is willing to engage him in the cage. A top fighter with wins over solid lightweight competition, Michael Johnson is climbing the ranks for a shot at the title. Absolutely beautiful how Nate Diaz takes Michael apart with a solid jab and continuously landing the brutal and unstoppable one-two punch combination.
The Diaz brothers are known for their abrasive “Fuck The World” and “Middle Finger To The Law” attitude. Inside the ring, they are known for their crisp and accurate boxing sometimes referred to as the “Stockton Slap”. Nate Diaz is a lengthy fighter and usually enjoys a reach advantage over his lightweight division competition. He uses his reach advantage to the fullest by executing quick boxing combinations and then slipping out of his opponents reach to avoid the counter. In addition to quick and accurate boxing, Nate Diaz also doesn’t focus on knocking his opponents out. Instead he focuses on making sure that every time he throws a punch, he lands it exactly where he wants to. The style can be referred to as “pillow punching”. Each punch in itself does not do a great deal of damage. But in a 3 round fight, when those punches start adding up, Nate Diaz’s pillow punches will start hurting physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately its been a year since we have seen Nate Diaz in the fight cage. Where has Nate Diaz been? Nate could have taken the time off to mentally regroup after a grueling and painful fight against Rafael dos Anjos. The year long break may also be due to his nagging money complaints towards his contracts with the UFC.
It’s not secret that Nate and Nick Diaz have never been the exemplary “company men” and are likely very very difficult to work with behind the scenes. Nate’s fight performance is also not the most consistent. He has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself for a title shot against top UFC lightweight fighters. He has come up short when it counts. But when he wins, he is likely awarded a fight bonus. The winner of six “fight of the night” awards, five “submission of the night” awards, and one “knockout of the night” award, he could almost rival Joe Lauzon as the most meaningfully entertaining fighter in the UFC.
Despite these inconsistencies in fight performance and not being a corporate team player, it could stand to reason that Nate Diaz is one of the most underpaid fighters in the UFC. He has been with the UFC a little more than 8 years since winning the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a top fighter in the weight division and a his bad attitude is what makes fans love him more. Although he may be difficult to work with, Nate Diaz is good for the sport overall.
In the post-fight press conference. Nate Diaz expressed that the motivation for him coming back to the UFC is get the big name fights and the fights that make sense. Nate likely knows that his days in the ring are number and he is looking for his final few big pay days. Hopefully Nate Diaz and the UFC have worked out their contractual differences. It would be an absolute treat to be able to see Nate Diaz on the big fights he wants before he retires from the cage. After all, Nate Diaz comes from the old warrior spirit of Pride and the beginnings of the UFC. He carries the true spirit of a fighter as opposed to an athlete. It’s that beautiful boxing, slick groundwork, and inspiring “Don’t Be Scared Homie” attitude that we fight fans want more of!
Nate Diaz vs Michael Johnson full fight video