UFC lightweight Nate Diaz may come off as cocky at times based on his brash demeanor but in reality the 27-year old is a relatively humble individual who simply wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t care about the opinions of people who aren’t important to him on a personal level. The thoughtful, well-reasoned part of Diaz underneath the mean-mugging Californian’s exterior was recently on display when asked about his UFC on FOX 5 title-fight with Benson Henderson and what winning the gold would mean to him on a personal level, offering up some surprising insight in response.
“I don’t think that the person holding the belt is always the best in the world. There’s a few guys in the category for the best in the world, and it could be any one of us. I think timing has a lot to do with who’s holding the belt, and who’s having the better night,” said Diaz in an interview with the UFC, pointing out that he would see the label of champion meaning more for his team than himself. “The most important part about having the belt would be that I could promote a lot of people that I train with, and more people will listen if I had the belt. So it’s a big deal to have the belt, but I think that having the belt doesn’t necessarily make you the best fighter in the world.”
“I started out with the same people when I was a kid before I trained, and I still have the same friends I had growing up too,” continued Diaz, referring to the likes of brother Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. “I would go to big events and parties and stuff when I was a kid, and we always had a good group of friends where if we went places and got into problems, we always came out alive and we all came out together because we knew that we all cared about each other. I think it’s good to surround yourself with people you care about and that care about you, and you all trust each other, and then you don’t have to worry about problems and sh*tty stuff happening.”
The warm, fuzzy side of Diaz quickly wore off when discussing this weekend’s match-up with Henderson. While many see Mixed Martial Arts as little more than a grueling athletic competition, the 16-7 Diaz doesn’t feel the need to overanalyze the reality of what each rumble actually is in principle.
“I know that once it’s time to fight, it’s time to fight, and it’s been that time since the contract was signed,” explained Diaz. “It is a fight, and to me it’s not some sporting event, and to anybody it shouldn’t be like that. They can try to make it as much of a sporting event as they want and portray it as that, but it’s a fight, and whether they’re saying it or not, they’re in there to damage me, finish me, knock me out, and they would definitely rather win by knockout or submission than by decision. So I’m not gonna make it like this is some fancy sporting event; it’s a fight and we’re at war, so I’m trying to take him out just like he’s trying to take me out.”
Fans can catch Diaz duking it out with Henderson tomorrow night on FOX with the main card kicking off at 9:00 PM EST. As always, Five Ounces of Pain will be tuned in and relaying live results back to our readers including those from the preliminary portion of the show.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC