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Nate Diaz Wants To Keep The Show Rolling

Stockton Star Hopes UFC 263 Bout Kicks Off Period Of Activity; “I Always Want To Stay Busy"

It doesn’t seem real that Nate Diaz is 36 years old. To most of us, he’s still the fresh-faced kid making his name in the WEC, winning The Ultimate Fighter, and then becoming one of the most popular (and successful) fighters in the sport.

But here he is, 36, yet still making noise in a sport that he made his own so many years ago. And with that age comes the realization that just like he once looked up to the veterans of MMA, now he’s that veteran.

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“There’s a new breed of people all across the board,” said Diaz. “They (other fighters) have always been older guys to me in the game, OGs and people doing their thing, fighting and competing, but now it’s all just a bunch of new guys and a bunch of new names – new talent, new styles. Everything’s new. So I’ve been sitting back and watching a lot of stuff go down.”

On the sidelines since 2019, when he returned from a three-year layoff to defeat Anthony Pettis before getting stopped on cuts by Jorge Masvidal, Diaz has always followed the beat of his own drum, and he sticks to his guns even more so these days, waiting for the right fight. That doesn’t mean an easy fight or the most lucrative fight, but the right fight. That doesn’t even follow the same definition that it would for his peers, who believe a fight for the title is the right fight. For Diaz, “I believe I am the title.”

UFC 263 FREE FIGHTS: Deiveson Figueiredo vs Joseph Benavidez 2 | Nate Diaz vs Anthony Pettis | Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori 1 | Leon Edwards vs Donald Cerrone | Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum | Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno 1

So while the elite of the 170-pound weight class all have their sights focused on UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, Diaz believes his title fight is the five-rounder he’s engaging in on Saturday night against Leon Edwards.

“I feel like this is the title,” Diaz said. “There’s not much that you can do more in the game than fight me, as far as I’m concerned. I fought all these guys and done better and done more than everybody, so this is what you get when you get a title.”

The Cult Of Nate Diaz | UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2
The Cult Of Nate Diaz | UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2
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There’s truth in Diaz’ words, as he is one of the “money fights” for anyone, with all the attention that goes along with it. And if someone does get a win over the Stockton native, that’s a feather in the cap that can be traded in for even bigger fights down the line. Those are the perks for those that fight Diaz. But what does he get out of fighting Edwards?

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“He’s quiet and not a person that a lot of people know,” said Diaz of the Brit, the number three contender who is unbeaten in nine straight since a 2015 loss to Usman. “If I’m not gonna fight the biggest fight I could possibly find, I’m gonna fight the best fighter that I could possibly find. I’m out there to show people that I’m the best of the best and not just to fight on TV for fun.

“I always want to compete like I always have, and I always want to stay busy, but it’s hard for me to just fight with unnamed opponents and people who haven’t done much yet,” he continues. “Not that they can’t and won’t, but they just haven’t yet, and that’s why I’ve been out. I like challenges and tough opponents and big stuff to happen.”

Best of Nate Diaz on the Mic
Best of Nate Diaz on the Mic
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Edwards is a challenge, he’s a tough opponent, and with this UFC 263 bout being the first non-title fight to be scheduled for five rounds when not headlining an event, that’s big stuff even before the Octagon door shuts. As for what the next step is for Diaz, he has no plans on sitting out another year.

“Once I kick it off, I want to keep the show going,” he said. “I always want to stay busy, so hopefully there’s something out there for me after this one, too.”

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From young gun to OG, Diaz is aging gracefully as he approaches the big 4-0.

“I just feel like I’m getting better,” he said. “And keeping it real all the way through, you can’t go wrong with it.”