Stockton Chronicles: The Rise of Nick DiazPosted on February 2, 2012, 07:05 PM by Daniel Cassidy
The Nick Diaz story starts humbly in Stockton in 1983. Growing up without his biological father, as well as moving schools on a regular basis instillied an attitude in him that still baffles many in the sport today.
A young Nick Diaz stumbled into BJJ at just 16, and took to grappling like a duck to water. Later years would see him bring his brother Nathan to the sport, intending to steer him clear of the gang culture notorious in the area. Training under Cesar Gracie, Diaz turned professional in 2001, he initially went 4-0, including an impressive split decision win over UFC veteran Chris Lytle. Fighting initially at Weltweight, Diaz would go on to suffer a TKO loss to Jeremy Jackson. His early career saw him win again, but suffered another defeat, this time a split decision loss to Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Despite the loss, Diaz followed this up with his one and only WEC fight, making light work of Joe Hurley, capturing the WEC Wleterweight title in just under two minutes. This win saw him once again fight Jeremy Jackson, returning the favour this time and demolishing his opponent a TKO win. This fight finally saw the UFC offer Diaz a contract, and a rubber match with Jackson.
Setting out to prove a point on his biggest stage to date, Diaz needed three rounds to this time defeat Jackson, but tapped his opponent out via Armbar. The win would see him take on "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler, a wrestler/boxer, who was the heavy favourite. In a close fight, Diaz dispatched Lawler with a knockout that saw Lawler crash to the kanvas early in the second round. Facing tough Judoka Karo Parisyian, Diaz struggled to cope with his opponents Judo take downs, losing a razor thin split decision. Bouncing back against Drew Fickett and Koji Oishi, Diaz returned to winning form, brushing both aside with ease, earning two knockout wins.
Diaz suffered three consecutive decision losses to wrestlers in his next three fights, losing to Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs and Sean sherk, showing the few holes in his game, as Diaz found himself pinned down by the superior wrestlers and unable to impliment his game. He also gained notoriority for his reported hospital brawl with Joe Riggs following their heated bout.
Going back to his roots, Diaz won again at ICFO 1: Stockton, improving his record to 12-6 against Ray Steinbess, before a UFC return. His second UFC spell saw him defeat Glison Tibau and Josh Neer, before leaving the promotion due to contract disputes. Being the hottest free agent at the time, Diaz was brought to Japan to face "The Fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi. Wheathering some early shots and an early knock down, Diaz regained compure and earned some respect in the process, taunting the clearly tired Japanese fighter before luring him into a rarely seen gogoplatta. Unfortunatley for Diaz, the win was over turned to a "No Contest" when Diaz failed the post fight drug test, with Marijuana found in his system. A keen marijuana advacator, Diaz is known for his consumption of the drug and admits partaking in "420". His use of the drug has led to many complaints about Diaz attitude towards the sport.
Signing with Elite XC, he suffered a loss against KJ Noons at Lightweight, losing via doctors stoppage. Unhurt but bloodied up, a near riot errupted when Diaz almost came to blows with Noons's father, before leaving the arena flipping off the booing crowd. Following another 2 wins for Elite XC and another for DREAM, Diaz signed with and set up shop under the strikeforce banner. This is where the Nick Diaz: Badass starts to be over taken by the Nick Diaz: The fighter.
Making his SF debut against the legendary Frank Shamrock, Diaz entered with a serious chip on his shoulder. Flipping off his opponent at the weigh ins set the tone for the rest of the fight, where Diaz punished Shamrock with body strikes leading to a Round 2 finish. He showed his appreciation for his opponent by helping him off the ground, and holding his hand aloft after the fight. Following a punishing rear naked choke win over Scott Smith, he challenged Marius Zaromskis. He would deliver just four minutes of punishment in the Whitemare before finishing him via TKO. Following a return to DREAM to defeat Hayoto Sakurai via armbar in the first round, he returned to Strikeforce to face old adversary KJ Noons in San Jose.
Again, with his back against the wall with his boxing skills being put to the test, he would take the fight to Noons, electing to keep the fight standing and outboxing his opponent over five rounds. Following his team mate Jake Shields win over Dan Henderson, the entire Cesar Gracie camp were involved in a brawl with Jason Miller, earning Diaz all the wrong kinds of press. In the first of 3 fights in 2011, he smashed title contender Evangelista Santos, before crossing paths with former UFC fighter Paul Daley. The Brit enjoyed his fare share of trash talk, discreditting Diaz's boxing, claiming to need just 1 round to finish him. But things turned out differenty.
In one of the most exciting fights of last year, Diaz and Daley went toe to toe, with Diaz eventually finding a way to finish the challenger, leaving the referee with no choice but to seperate Diaz from his barely conscious opponent in just 1 round.
Following the Strikeforce merger, Diaz was quickly matched with UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Despite promises of a changed Nick Diaz from Dana White, Diaz refused to show to several UFC press events, leaving White with little option but to fire a warning shot Diaz's way. Diaz was removed from the UFC 137 main event, fighting BJ Penn instead, swapping places with Carlos Condit. Despite this, GSP suffered a training injury, and the match against Condit wouldn't go ahead. Finding himself under fire once more, Diaz had his shot vs Penn, losing would likely mean the end of his UFC career, but a win would find him back in title contention. Over 3 rounds at UFC 137, Diaz bloodied and battered Penn, defeating the former Champ by unanimous decision. The emphatic win would mean another chance at redemption in the form of a title fight. While the match was announced for this coming weekend, GSP would further injure himself, removing him from the title picture temporarily. As a result, UFC top brass announced that Diaz would face Carlos Condit. The 209 vs The Natural Born Killer.
This weekend, Diaz will take centre of the cage this weekend against his toughest test to date. Fighting for the UFC's Interim Welterweight Championship, Diaz has the chance to silence many of the doubters that argue he shouldnt be figting for the title. A win will all but promise him a shot at GSP, a fight the current champ now cites as "very personal". From declaring GSP isn't injured, to calling out anyone who wants to fight, Diaz isn't going anywhere. A win brings him closer to a dream match up against Georges St Pierre, one he badly deserves if he dispatches of Condit. This fight truly promises to be one of the promotions most exciting to date, with both fighters certain to leave it all in the cage.