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Nate Diaz has some of the most memorable finishes [Image via @btsportufc on Instagram]

5 most memorable Nate Diaz finishes in the UFC

Nate Diaz is well and truly one of the most legendary fighters in UFC history. Despite never winning a championship during his 15-year run with the world's premier MMA promotion, Diaz has a cult following behind him and his older brother Nick, an icon in his own right.

At UFC 279, Diaz fought out the final bout of his UFC contract and is now set to venture into free agency. With his perpetual anti-authority behavior, memorable post-fight interviews, and his dramatic rivalry with Conor McGregor, the Stockton native has enthralled MMA fans throughout his career.


While Diaz did leave the door open for a potential UFC return down the line, the world of combat sports is notoriously unpredictable. As such, we thought we'd pay our dues and acknowledge the Stockton slugger's incredible career.

Here are the five most memorable Nate Diaz finishes in the UFC.

#5. Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi – UFC 135


Back in 2007, when Nate Diaz had just broken into the scene on The Ultimate Fighter, his brother Nick competed in PRIDE 33 against Takanori Gomi, unilaterally regarded as the best lightweight in the world at the time.

The older Diaz brother produced one of the most memorable submission wins in MMA history on the night by finishing the Japanese star with an extremely rare gogoplata after an incredible back-and-forth barnburner.

On the night Nick Diaz gogoplata’d Takanori Gomi in Pride, he tested positive at such high levels for THC that he must’ve been stoned during the fight

Four years after the Takanori Gomi vs. Nick Diaz bout under the PRIDE promotional banner, Gomi signed with the UFC and in his third fight inside the octagon, he took on his former foe's younger brother Nate.

At the time, Nate Diaz was very young in his UFC career and was largely in the shadow of his brother. At UFC 135, the TUF winner took on Gomi and the fight was hardly competitive with Diaz dominating from start to finish.


The Stockton native's crisp boxing was on point right from the get-go and Gomi didn't have any answers on the feet. As such, the Japanese icon resorted to takedowns to get closer to his American counterpart, who latched onto an armbar to force the tap.

Shaved head Nate Diaz picks Gomi apart like a turkey at Thanksgiving #MMATwitter

#4. Nate Diaz vs. Gray Maynard 3 – The Ultimate Fighter Finale 18

Nate Diaz's three-fight rivalry with Gray Maynard kicked off all the way back in 2007, when both budding lightweights were contestants on The Ultimate Fighter season 5. In the semi-finals of the reality series, Diaz and Maynard locked horns to grab a slot in the finals.


Diaz emerged victorious on that occasion, winning via submission. Three years later, they squared off in a UFC Fight Night main event in Fairfax, Virginia, where Maynard came away with a contentious split-decision win. Many still believe Diaz deserved the judges' nod on the night.

With a rubber match inevitable, the duo locked horns for a third time in 2013.

Official TUF 19 Finale poster [Image via @mmaowl on Twitter]

Diaz came out like a house on fire in the very first round and looked sensational right from the opening bell. He lit up Maynard with some slick boxing combinations in the first two minutes and once he found his range, the fight was effectively over.

Halfway through the first round, Diaz unleashed a barrage of strikes after backing Maynard into the fence. His relentless onslaught saw Maynard take multiple heavy blows, prompting the referee to step in.

Nate Diaz ended his trilogy against Gray Maynard with a flurry of punches.

Where do you rate the Stockton Slugger on your welterweight all-time list?


#3. Nate Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino – UFC Fight Night 13

After a scorching run on The Ultimate Fighter in 2007, Nate Diaz earned a UFC contract. He carried his impressive form into his UFC career, winning his first two fights inside the octagon relatively easily via first-round submissions.

However, he faced tremendous adversity against Kurt Pellegrino in his third UFC fight. Nevertheless, Diaz showcased his patented durability against a bigger opponent and added to his tally of submission wins as well.

Nate Diaz vs Kurt Pellegrino

After being dominated for the first round-and-a-half, Nate Diaz looked completely outgunned against Kurt Pellegrino, who was evidently so much stronger than the TUF winner.

Looking to assert his dominance, Pellegrino picked Diaz up over his head to slam him down onto the mat in the second round. Upon hitting the canvas, the Stockton native locked in a triangle choke and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, while famously flexing and throwing up the double middle fingers.


@NateDiaz209 earns a Submission of the Night Bonus,

when he submits Kurt Pellegrino VIA Triangle Choke http://t.co/qnNApZEJ6k

#2. Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson – UFC 279

With just one fight remaining on his UFC contract after his five-rounder with Leon Edwards in 2021, Nate Diaz was desperate to fight out his UFC contract and explore the fortunes of free agency. As is the case in the fight promotion game, he was dealt a gross mismatch in his final UFC fight against the undefeated and highly touted Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279.

The UFC's intentions were quite clear with this booking and MMA fans were gearing up for a potentially cruel swansong for the legend. Diaz was a massive underdog going into the bout and many condoned the matchup as well, citing disrespect and spite as reasons for why the UFC would give him such an unfavorable opponent.

Thankfully, after Khamzat Chimaev's egregious weight miss and the subsequent reshuffling of the fight card, Nate Diaz was matched with fellow UFC veteran Tony Ferguson.

Diaz and Ferguson are among the biggest stars in the UFC and considering they were around the same age, the change was received positively by fans. Interestingly, with a new opponent, Diaz went from being a gigantic underdog to a slight betting favorite.

Diaz. Ferguson. Five Rounds. Main Event.

Yes, really!

#UFC279 | BT Sport 1, 1AM

The fight was pretty evenly contested, with Diaz having success with his boxing and Ferguson causing significant damage with his kicks.

Going into the penultimate round, Diaz was on shaky legs and Ferguson was really wearing it on his face. It appeared as though 'El Cucuy' was slowing down as well, which came as no surprise considering he was preparing for a three-round fight until the last minute change to the card.

Somehow, in the most poetic fashion imaginable, Diaz jumped on a guillotine choke after Ferguson attempted an ill-advised takedown, forcing the tap at 2:09 of the fourth round. Everything about this win, right from the submission to the timing of the finish, was the perfect way to end Diaz's 15-year UFC career.


#1. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196

Nate Diaz has always been a fan favorite among hardcore MMA fans. However, it's undeniable that his starpower reached astronomical heights after his first fight with Conor McGregor, which not only boosted his stock, but also saw the emergence of the UFC and MMA in mainstream sports on a global level.

Back in 2016, when McGregor was undoubtedly the biggest superstar in the sport, many believed the Irishman would put away any opponent placed before him. After capturing undisputed gold in the featherweight division, 'The Notorious' opted to move up to 155 pounds and become the first-ever simultaneous two-division champion.

He was booked to fight then-lightweight kingpin Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196, but a foot injury to the 155-pound champion forced the UFC to look for a replacement. After multiple options were considered, the promotion settled on Nate Diaz as McGregor's next opponent, as the Stockton native was the only one willing to accept the fight on 11 days' notice.

Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz share final epic, expletive filled face off ahead of #UFC196 foxs.pt/1nmrnUq #UFC

As expected, Diaz was a sizeable betting underdog going into the fight and the first round showed why. McGregor looked near-perfect in the opening five minutes, catching his American counterpart multiple times with his famously powerful left straight.


However, Diaz's durability shone through in the second frame. Despite McGregor landing his best shots flush, he wasn't able to put his opponent away and the furstration seemingly affected his gas tank and decision making. The Irish superstar even got caught with a pin-point Diaz one-two to the chin, which forced him to shoot for a takedown out of sheer exhaustion.

In the subsequent grappling exchanges, Diaz cut through McGregor's guard like a hot knife through butter and soon found a rear-naked choke, becoming the first fighter to defeat 'The Notorious' in the UFC.

OTD in 2016...

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz went to war at #UFC196

The win over Conor McGregor saw Nate Diaz emerge as a bonafide superstar. Not only did it earn the Stockton native a lucrative paycheck, but it also set the tone for the rest of his career.

The duo ran it back just a few months later, with McGregor edging out a razor-thin decision win, despite finishing the fight poorly. A trilogy bout is inevitable, but with Diaz now outside the UFC, it could be contested under boxing rules. Alternatively, if he returns to the promotion in the future, a rubber match inside the octagon is only fitting.

#UFC196: McGregor Diaz is showing on BT Sport 3 HD now!

You might be surprised - you might not 🎙
Edited by
Allan Mathew
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