The UFC lightweight division got shook up a little recently, as the return of notorious Stockton brawler Nate Diaz was announced. Diaz gets a huge fight in the form of Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 in Orlando, Florida, a fight that most relevant lightweights would kill for right now. The younger brother of Nick has certainly faced some of the best of the 155 pounders, but his path never crossed with fellow lightweight Jiu Jitsu ace Joe Lauzon.
Speaking during a recent Snapchat Q & A, as transcribed by David St. Martin of MMAFighting.com, Lauzon explains the many reasons that he and Nate haven’t fought up until this point:
“I think it’s kind of a natural thing that we’ll probably fight at some point, maybe. But I would always try to fight someone else before I fought Nate. Just because I like Nate a lot. It would probably be an exciting fight, but I like Nate too much.”
“I love Nate Diaz,” said Lauzon. “We were both on [The Ultimate Fighter] together. We were on opposite teams. He actually arm-locked me the very first day for the tryouts. The tryouts were to pick teams and I got matched up with Nate. I hadn’t done jiu jitsu in two months because my brother, we don’t get along so well sometimes, we were doing kickboxing sparring and he double-legged me through the ropes into a hard piece of metal.”
“I had a huge lump and I couldn’t do anything off my back for two months. So the first day, it’s the first time I’ve done any sort of jiu jitsu and of course I’m paired up with Nate and he arm-locks me right off the bat. It was such a nice arm lock.”
Trust Joe Lauzon to form a bond with a fellow fighter because the guy dumped him on to a chunk of metal and injured his back! Diaz’s persona in the media often leads to heavy criticism by fans, but he also has a somewhat cult following, as does older brother Nick, for his honesty and sometimes reckless attitude. Lauzon says this is all part of the game and that these are the qualities he likes in a friend:
“Everyone’s like, ‘He kind of looks like a jerk.’ Lauzon said of Diaz. “He seems like a dick.’ I try to explain that the Diaz brothers don’t like doing media, but if you met Nate Diaz you would love him. Nate is the man. I wish it would come off a little bit clearer how awesome those guys are. He’d give you the shirt off his back. The 209 don’t give a f**k.”
Misunderstood or jerks? Quite often the consensus errs on the latter, but perhaps their awkward interviews and frequently foul behaviour inside and outside the cage should be overshadowed by their exciting fight style?
That being said, it’s been a while since either picked up a victory, and Nate Diaz will face a very angry and determined top contender in ‘The Menace’ after his robbery against Beneil Dariush.