Welcome to the 209 b****! Ah yes, time for fans of MMA's most polarizing brothers to rejoice.
Nate Diaz was not even given a "puncher's chance" going into Saturday's main event against Conor McGregor at UFC 196. There were a number of factors going against him: He wasn't training much at the time, as he had just finished up a vacation in Cabo. He was also a last minute injury-replacement for Rafael Dos Anjos, so he didn't even have time to spar. As McGregor jokingly said (but kind of serious too), the "C" in "UFC," stands for Conor. Both Dana White and McGregor have admitted that they went over a short list of candidates for who would be the most ideal replacement for Dos Anjos. They both decided that a fight with Diaz would draw the most interest. Diaz even acknowledged that he just might get beat up on that night, but it was too big of a payday to turn down.
Considering all these factors, many fans were not even pondering the notion that Diaz could actually win this fight, but rather: in which round would Conor knock him out? Ultimately, Nate delivered an upset of epic proportions. It's not as though he got lucky either as McGregor was completely gassed and shot for an impromptu takedown (which he never does) out of desperation.
This is not the first time that the Diaz Brothers have been written off, only to have them pull off the upset and proceed to extend their middle fingers. While they have their detractors, we all secretly wish we could be like them. Who wouldn't want to break every rule, tell their boss "where to go," and be as rebellious as they please? For you wrestling fans, this is exactly why the Stone Cold Steve Austin character reached such insane levels of popularity.
Regardless of their popularity and success, they are somehow always viewed as underdogs.
Here are the top 12 fighters who underestimated the Diaz brothers.
12 Melvin Guillard (Nate Diaz)
11 K.J. Noons (Nick Diaz)
K.J. Noons and Nick Diaz first met at Elite XC's "Renegade" show in 2007. Diaz ended up losing the fight via lame doctor's stoppage. But it was all worth it because during the post-fight interviews, Nick Diaz uttered what would become one of the most popular Diaz catch-phrases going forward: "Don't be scared, homie!"
10 Marcus Davis (Nate Diaz)
9 Joe Riggs (Nick Diaz)
This one is a special case because Joe Riggs won the actual fight (a fight that nobody remembers). The more famous fight took place afterwards at the hospital, where Riggs certainly underestimated Nick Diaz' craziness. Riggs has been billed as the aggressor of the fight, in his words: "I just f---d you up on TV. That's two, and you're out. Time to go back to the WEC!"
8 Gray Maynard (Nate Diaz)
7 Kurt Pellegrino (Nate Diaz)
6 Robbie Lawler (Nick Diaz)
5 Paul Daley (Nick Diaz)
Paul Daley and Nick Diaz squared off at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley in 2011. Many members of the media and fans thought that there would be an immense amount of trash talk going into this one, as they both weren't afraid to speak their mind, yet they kept it pretty quiet. Although, Daley did imply that Diaz' striking was nowhere near efficient as his own and that it would be a long night if he chose to keep the fight on the feet. Side note: At one point Diaz felt that Ariel Helwani was trying to manufacture a conflict between the two of them and indicated that Helwani would promptly be slapped if it persisted, and that was the end of that.
4 Michael Johnson (Nate Diaz)
3 Frank Shamrock (Nick Diaz)
2 B.J. Penn (Nick Diaz)
B.J. Penn has retired and "comeback" way too many times, he's becoming like the Brett Favre of MMA. Regardless, at one time Penn was regarded as one of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport. Only two fighters have managed to win world titles at two weight classes, with Penn being one of them. Nick Diaz and Penn locked horns at UFC 137, in 2011. Once again, the odds makers had Diaz as the underdog, even though the fight was at Welterweight. This was around the time where UFC went mainstream, but fans had forgotten how good Diaz was because he had been absent from the UFC (fighting in other promotions) for five years.
1 Conor McGregor (Nate Diaz)
Nate Diaz was so ridiculously underestimated this past weekend, that the UFC brass were already openly planning Conor McGregor's next fight at Welterweight, between he and current champ, Robbie Lawler. As we mentioned above, McGregor and the UFC brass even collaborated as to who would be the best possible opponent to take this fight on short notice.
Diaz was fully a pawn in the UFC's plans to further elevate their cash cow. McGregor was quoted as saying: "I've hunted him down, I've stalked him like my prey and now I have him. And now Saturday night I will eat his carcass in front of his gazelle friends." For the first two rounds, it seemed as though Mystic Mac was going to come through with another prediction, but with his face full of blood, Diaz rallied a comeback that will surely go down as upset of the year (even though the year's only two month's old).
Let's also not get it twisted, this is not a shot at McGregor, as he gained much respect in defeat. This is the second time that his opponent got switched on him with under two weeks notice and he always accepts the challenge. He could have easily took the low road and bowed out like Jon Jones and Fabricio Werdum, due to the lack of time to prepare for a new opponent. He's also never pulled out of a fight and his warrior spirit is admirable.
Having said that, there's no denying that Diaz was underestimated by just about everyone, including yours truly.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!