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The Top 5 Nate Diaz Fights

Matt MolgaardCorrespondent IIIJanuary 12, 2017

The Top 5 Nate Diaz Fights

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    When Nate Diaz sets foot in the octagon, you know one thing is certain: An offensive war is about to ensue. The younger of the Diaz brothers, Nate is every bit as aggressive as his brother Nick, and he’s one of the few fighters today that can say in complete truth that they fight each fight with the intention of ending the fight before the final bell sounds.

    Nate Diaz is a crowd-pleaser to the core.

    Even when coming up short in competition, Diaz dumps his entire being on the mat and refuses to roll over and “give” anyone a win. In Nate’s mind, it’s not over until it’s over. And that’s exactly what makes the man a heavy fan favorite.

    Sure, Diaz can be a bit aggressive and demeaning… and demoralizing and intimidating–you see where I’m going with this. From the outside looking in, Nate Diaz may not seem like the nicest guy (he’s actually pretty damn cool away from the cage, I might add) leading up to a fight, but he does what he feels is necessary, and typically it works in bringing him success in fights and loyalty from fans.

    The kid knows exactly how to maintain legitimate intensity while selling a fight.

    And many a fight this Stockton representative has had. At 27 years old, Nate’s already logged 23 fights, and let me tell you, damn near every one of them has been an aesthetic gift from the MMA gods.

    Here are just a few of his most relevant and memorable bouts…

5. Nate Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino

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    Nate’s fight with Kurt Pellegrino wasn’t a barn burner. It wasn’t thrilling for 8:06 seconds. But Nate wasn’t half the fighter then that he is now. In fact, it was the bout with “Batman” that solidified Diaz’s stance as a legit A-level fighter rather than a B hopeful reaching for his brother’s shadow.

    Pellegrino’s wrestling would come into play during this fight, but not to his ultimately desired goal. Rather, it would be Kurt’s wrestling that brought about his own demise. Roughly three minutes into the second round, Pellegrino lifted Diaz, executing a slam that could have been visually pleasing and effective, had Nate not wrapped his limbs around the upper region of Pellegrino’s body, securing one arm and his neck and locking in a tight triangle choke as the two met mat. The double middle finger went up, and so did a massive boost in Nate’s confidence.

    Diaz versus Pellegrino remains a pivotal point in Nate’s career, as it serves as the single fight that confirmed his own beliefs: Nate was ready for the big leagues.

4. Nate Diaz vs. Melvin Guillard/Marcus Davis

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    These two bouts earn a tie position, simply because they both prove different points for different reasons, and they were both pretty damn exciting.

    Nate’s bout with Guillard proved that he can take a shot from one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, punchers in the division, recover, keep his menacing ways about him and still finish his foe in impressive fashion. The ability to overcome adversity isn’t something we typically doubt of the Diaz brothers, but it’s gratifying to see each man leap hurdles all the same.

    Nate’s meeting with Davis played out in a drastically different fashion and enabled Diaz to showcase the boxing he’d clearly been working on. It also proved that even though he's a tad slender for a legit 170-pound competitor, Nate’s frame was still manly enough to overcome solid welterweight competition.

    These are two extremely entertaining bouts, pertinent for two completely different reasons but each equally as important as the other.

3. Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller

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    If you’re looking to build a legacy as a full-contact competitor, it’s important to do things that no man has managed before. Nate Diaz made such an idea reality at UFC on FOX 3.

    In 24 bouts, the highly rated contender Jim Miller had never once been stopped within a fight's allotted distance. But Nate made history when the two met in the center of the Octagon on May 5th, 2012: The Stockton bad boy stopped Jim Miller inside of 10 minutes with a guillotine choke.

    It may not be the most memorable inclusion into the annals of history, but it’s a major statement all the same. Nate is capable of executing the impossible.

2. Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi

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    Nate’s meeting with Takanori Gomi at UFC 135 served as a distancing point between the junior and the elder Diaz brother. The time had come to step completely from Nick’s shadow and make his existence as a top contender known, and Nate managed with seeming ease.

    Gomi, who found sporadic success against Nate’s brother, Nick, at Pride 33, was outgunned from the opening bell forward. Nate emerged as a serious star in just four-and-a-half minutes, as he completely trounced Gomi, outclassing him on the feet before finishing off the Japanese star on the mat with an impressive armbar.

    The war that Nick and Gomi took part in was not to be found at UFC 135; Nate was simply too good for that.  

1. Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone

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    If you want to watch a man hit his pride mid-fight, becoming the monster he’d believed himself to be as an actual fistic duel unfolds, then watch Nate’s fight with über badass Donald Cerrone at UFC 141.

    Understand with complete clarity that Cerrone is a top-notch, A-class, top 10-ranked fighter. Understand that he’s not timid, not reserved and always eager to completely destroy opposition. Also understand that leading up to his fight with Nate at UFC 141 he rode a six-fight win streak that included batterings of Jamie Varner, Chris Horodecki and Dennis Siver.

    Donald Cerrone is an elite opponent. Nate Diaz made him look an MMA neophyte, lost in the waters of brutal violence. For 15 minutes, Nate Diaz beat the breaks right off Cerrone and was constantly two steps ahead, constantly in control.

    Diaz versus Cerrone saw the birth of the true, unquestionable top contender to Benson Henderson’s lightweight title.

     

    Follow Matt Molgaard on Twitter.

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